Leyenda Champion Becking returns to defend title in Colombia with Former World Champion Ferreira
With a little over five months until the start of La Leyenda 2018 we're very excited to release the first news of professional riders that will be coming to race in Colombia's premier mountain bike stage race, and where better to start than with 2017 Leyenda Champion, Hans Becking, who'll be racing with 2016 World and current European Cross-Country Marathon Champion, Tiago Ferreira, as part of DMT Racing Team.
"I loved La Leyenda last year and can't wait to come back. I've got so many good memories from 2017, the finish in Manizales and being crowned Champion, with all the people out to support us, as well as the stunning views throughout the whole race," said Hans. He's previously competed in both the Cross Country (XCO) and Marathon (XCM) formats, being National Dutch XCO Champion in 2016 and finishing a very impressive 7th in the World XCM Championship in Germany last year, but Hans has now decided to focus on the sport's longer format with his new team, telling us, "DMT's got lots of marathon experience and they're helping me learn fast. The goal is to win more stage races and perform well at the World Championships again in Italy this year."
Ferreira's been one of the world's top marathon mountain bikers for the last few years now, achieving victories and podiums in various international stage races, but of course it's his World and European Championships that stand out above all others. Many people forget that lots of mountain bike stage races, including La Leyenda, are raced as a team, often with support managers, mechanics and masseuses as well and Tiago's very keen to point out that it's this team effort that has allowed him to be so successful, saying, "These results are obviously hugely gratifying and the highlights of my career so far, but it's the team that push me everyday and play a huge role in me improving as a cyclist, so I'm very grateful to all of them."
Racing at altitude is one of the different challenges that La Leyenda poses to professionals as well as amateurs, and despite his titles, Tiago is no exception to this unique aspect of the race. "I raced in Mexico last year, just for a day, so I know a bit more about how by body will react, but it's not going to be easy. Still, with Hans now part of DMT and his knowledge of La Leyenda, we've got a good chance of success, which makes me excited," Tiago added.
The pair have already finished on the podium in the season opening Costa Blanca Bike Race in Spain and it goes without saying that with Tiago's world class track record and Hans' winning experience in Colombia last year, the pair are definitely one of the favourites for the 2018 Male Elite title and we can't wait to see them roll off the start line on 29th July in Manizales.