Victor Hugo Peña Video Interview: Colombians ready to attack in Turkey
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Victor Hugo Peña Video Interview: Colombians ready to attack in Turkey

by Shane Stokes at 3:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
 
Former Tour de France leader speaks about Colombia Coldeportes project

Victor Hugo PenaWatch out for the Colombians. That’s the general feeling at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, with the riders waking up today to bright sun and the prospect of the toughest, most mountainous stage of the race.

The peloton will cover 152 tough kilometres from Antalya to Elmali, a 1850-metre high summit finish, with the final climb certain to blow things apart and completely reshuffle a general classification currently topped by GreenEdge sprinter Matt Goss.

According to Victor Hugo Peña, former Tour de France race leader and the most experienced of the riders on the new Colombia Coldeportes squad, the team has more than one option to attack on the twenty kilometre ascent to the line.

“We have three riders – Chavez, Duarte and Suarez. They are good climbers,” he told VeloNation in a video interview carried out at the teams’ presentation prior to the race start. “We hope on the third day to try to make the race, then try to keep it [the lead] to the end – we will see.

“We also have Forero - last year he was doing good positions at the end – fourth and fifth, so we will see.”

Bunch sprints have decided the first two stages of the race, with Theo Bos (Rabobank) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) being the successful riders. The time gaps remain tight, with Forero twelve seconds behind Goss in sixteenth, and Duarte, Suarez and Chaves a further six seconds back.

Those gaps are almost completely due to time bonuses, and the riders who benefited from those will each slip backwards once the road pitches upwards today.

When the dust settles, Hugo Peña expects at least one of his compatriots to be either leading the race or be very close to the turquoise leader’s jersey.

The team has had a relatively tough start to the season, with the flatter races on the early-season programme testing those who would rather be slugging it out uphill. However a page was turned last week when Darwin Atapuma Hurtado won the final stage and finished eighth overall in the Giro del Trentino. Hugo Peña said that the team derived a lot of satisfaction from that success – ‘for us, we were really happy to receive that news of the first victory,’ he says. It’s certain that the riders are psyched to add to that now.

As the affable rider explains, the team was created to try to restore Colombian cycling back to the glory days of the 80s, when riders such as Lucho Herrera and Fabio Parra tore up races such as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. He sees his role as being one where he can share his experience, helping the younger riders to develop more quickly and to hit the top sooner.

“I learned too many [so many – ed.] things from many other teams, especially with Armstrong, then with Landis, Santiago Botero and too many riders. I want to share all those experience with the Colombian guys.

“Cycling in Colombia is really big and has too many things to learn. Many guys can win races, but they need to know how to work in Europe.”

In the video interview below, Hugo Peña speaks about the Presidential Tour of Turkey and his expectations, the team’s wishes for wild cards in this, its first season, as well as a special objective he wants to see happen before he retires from the sport.


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