Oscar Sevilla (Team Medellin) put on a show for his adopted home country at the Tour Colombia 2.1 on Wednesday, infiltrating the stage 2 early breakaway and then sticking it to the final kilometres with IAM Excelsior's Simon Pellaud.
The move didn't pay off with a win or the race lead, as Deceuninck-QuickStep's Alvaro Hodeg took the bunch-sprint victory, but Sevilla's time in the breakaway and virtual race lead gave fans of his Medellin team something to cheer about.
"Cycling is a spectacle for the public, and every day you have to try," Sevilla told Cyclingnews outside his team van after the finish.
The move started when four riders peeled away from the bunch before the day's only KOM just 10km into the race. Sevilla bridged to the move with another rider to form a lead group of six that also included José Tito Hernández (Orgullo Paisa), Luis Felipe Laverde (GW Shimano), Stiven Cuesta (Deprisa Bolivia), Simon Pellaud (IAM Excelsior) and Germán Chaves (Coldeportes Zenú). The leaders built an ultimate gap of 3:45.
"There were some riders in the lead, so I went out to catch them," Sevilla said of his attack, which was not part of any pre-race plan. "We had a dream that we were going to be able to stay away, but in the end the bunch was going too fast. In any case, when you are in the breakaway, the stress it a lot less because the roads have so many twists and turns and you have to be focused and tense all the time."
When the breakaway started coming apart with less than 40km to go, it was only Sevilla and Pellaud left up front, but they had a decent gap over the field and looked to be within danger of staying away with 20km remaining.
"The Swiss rider who was with me deserves to be on a WorldTour team," Sevilla said of Pellaud.
That hope for stage victory was short-lived, however, as Sevilla's proximity to race leader Rigoberto Uran's overall lead motivated EF Education First to chase down the move, and the sprinters' teams also threw riders into the chase.
The day off the front didn't pay off in the end, but Sevilla, who was third overall last month in Vuelta a San Juan, was happy to put on a show for the fans, and he told Cyclingnews he didn't believe Wednesday's effort would cost him over the rest of the week.
"I felt very good out there today," he said. "I felt confident, and on these kind of roads you spend the same kind of energy in the break as you do in the pack. These are Grand Tour cyclists, and they're used to racing 230, 250km."
Nevertheless, Sevilla said, if he does get tired during the week the team has capable GC riders in Fabio Duarte and Edward Beltran.
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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