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Betancur: I wanted to race like Joaquim Rodríguez

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Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) makes his attack at the base of the Mur de Huy

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) makes his attack at the base of the Mur de Huy
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) looks back after attacking at the base of the Mur de Huy

Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) looks back after attacking at the base of the Mur de Huy
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A bike throw by Sergio Henao (Sky) was the difference in the stage victory ahead of Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale)

A bike throw by Sergio Henao (Sky) was the difference in the stage victory ahead of Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Carlos Betancur (AG2R) put in an early attack on the Mur de Huy

Carlos Betancur (AG2R) put in an early attack on the Mur de Huy
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Sergio Henao (Sky), Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Carlos Betancur (AG2R) made up the Fleche Wallonne podium

Sergio Henao (Sky), Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Carlos Betancur (AG2R) made up the Fleche Wallonne podium
(Image credit: AFP Photo)

Probably the least expected part of La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday came when Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) launched an all-out attack at the foot of the Mur de Huy. Certainly to judge by the lack of reaction in the peloton, nobody had been expecting such a move, and the Colombians' tearing up of the script worked so well that Betancur - second in a recent ultra-steep finish behind Sergio Henao (Sky) in the Tour of the Basque Country - stayed ahead for far longer than expected.

Indeed, there were even gasps of "he's won, he's won" from the Flèche Wallonne press room as Betancur failed to crack on the ever steepening slopes of the Mur. It was only at the last moment, with less than 150 metros to go, that the Colombian climber cracked slightly, dropping to third.

"I saw how [Joaquim] Rodríguez won last year and I wanted to imitate it," was how Betancur described his attack, although in fact he may have not watched 'Purito' in last year's Flèche, given the Spaniard attacked with about 300 metres to go.

"I thought I was going to win, it was only about 100 metres from the finish when they finally got past me," he said. "This kind of result is very important for me and for Colombia."

Betancur said that the 2013 boom in Colombian cycling, rising from sixth to second overall in the nations classification in the UCI WorldTour ranking, was due to the "biological passport. [Anti-doping] controls are far tighter nowadays and riders like us who live at altitude have more of an advantage."

Seventh in the Tour of the Basque Country this April, Betancur says that he's convinced that he's made the right move out of Italy and into Ag2R this season, despite the lack of any tradition of South American racers in the team. "They've given me a great chance and now I'm able to take part in some top WorldTour races. It's a big step forward."