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Amador received by Costa Rican president

Movistar’s Andrey Amador has been received by Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla on his return to his home country following his recent debut appearance at the Tour de France. The 24-year-old was the first rider from Central America to start the Tour.

His profile soared at home as he battled a serious ankle injury sustained early in the opening week to complete the race in 166th place, just one position ahead of the lanterne rouge.

A large group fans welcomed the Movistar rider when he flew into San José airport last weekend. He went on to presidential residence in the Costa Rican capital, where he presented President Chinchilla with a Movistar team jersey.

“Andrey not only gave us plenty to get excited about from the moment that he announced his participation [in the Tour], but we were also able to follow his exploits throughout the race, where he had to face up to a very difficult test,” said President Chinchilla. “But Andrey showed determination, perseverance and fighting spirit and finally managed to finish the Tour de France.

“As Costa Ricans we feel immensely proud that we have been able to receive him and to tell him in the name of the whole country that we are happy to have him back because he is a real source of pride and a great example for many young people at a moment when we really him. We would like to see many more examples like Andrey in order to face up to the problems that are affecting our young people such as violence, drugs and criminality.”

In January this year, Amador was a victim of that criminality when he was attacked by a group of thugs during a training ride and left for dead at the side of the road. His Pinarello Dogma bike was stolen, while Amador sustained a number of injuries including paralysis of one of his kidneys and damage to his lungs.

After handing over a Movistar jersey to President Chinchilla, Amador revealed that he will spend the next week or so resting and allowing his injured ankle to heal. “Then the team doctors will see how things are going, work out a training regime for me and decide whether I will be able to return to racing at the Vattenfall Cyclassics on August 21,” he said. “After that, I would really love to be able to represent my country in the World Championships."

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).