Video: Jamis' Luis Amaran talks about extraordinary sacrifices during career

Cuban recounts decision to defect in 2005 and not seeing his family for a decade

Cycling is rife with stories of the sacrifice and struggle necessary to build a career in the sport, but Team Jamis rider Luis Amarán's path to pro cycling takes it to a new level.

The 36-year-old from Cuba found cycling at a very young age and was competing nationally on the island nation by the time he was 12. At 18 he was selected for the Cuban national team, and over six years with the team he won three national time trial championships as well as two stages in the Vuelta a Cuba.

In 2005, at the age of 26, Amarán defected from Cuba to Spain to continue racing on the amateur level with Team Cafemax. Three years later he moved from Europe to the US and started racing with Team Colvaita, which is now Team Jamis.

Amarán's success during his time in the US include stage wins at the Tour de Gila, the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Cascade Cycling Classic. His most successful season was in 2010 when he topped USA Cycling' National Racing Calendar individual rankings.

Because Amarán's family couldn't leave Cuba, it had been 10 years since he had seen them, their only contact taking place over the phone. After the restoration of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba in July, Amarán was able to return to his hometown in Cuba and reunite with his family.

This video produced by the team chronicles Amarán's cycling career and life. Amarán continues to race on the US Continental circuit for Team Jamis and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife and two kids.

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