LA LEYENDA 2018 - STAGE 6, EL DORADO
#LA LEYENDA 2018
The Plaza de Bolívar in Manizales was the centre point for the sixth and final stage of La Leyenda del Dorado 2018, the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in Colombia. The people of Manizales came out in their thousands to give the cyclists a heroes welcome after a week of intense racing around the towns and countryside of Caldas, Colombia, on the 466 km route.
The finish line was crowded with families, friends, spectators and cycling enthusiasts that cheered and clapped every one of the racers that crossed the line and finished La Leyenda del Dorado 2018, "The Everest of Mountain Biking.”
Portuguese Tiago Ferreira and Hans Becking claimed the stage victory and overall Male Elite crown, with Hans retaining the 2017 title that he won with Joris Massaer, followed by Austrian Alban Lakata, triple World Marathon Champion, and Czech Kristian Hynek. The winning pair took just 1 hour, 17 minutes and 48 seconds to cover the 29 km stage and had an overall General Classification time of 21 hours, 27 minutes and 52 seconds.
"The toughest stage was the arrival to Salamina, due to the rain and muddy conditions, but we kept control and held on. It has been a tough competition, for sure, but the people have been amazing and so friendly. It has definitely been a week to remember, and I hope to come back,” commented Ferreira, Marathon World Champion from 2016.
Colombian Mónica Calderón and Venezuelan Liliana Uzcátegui were the clear winners in the Female Elite category, although they came in second place on the final stage. Portuguese Ilda Pereira and Spanish Mayalen Noriega followed them on the podium, which was completed by Colombians Yosiana Quintero and Leidy Mera.
"I have never felt something so special when finishing a race. We had difficult moments, but we got over them with a lot of strength, you can’t think as an individual but as a team. In La Leyenda I was able to discover new things, like having the strength to achieve major goals. The satisfaction of crossing the finish line has no comparison. The organization was incredible and it is wonderful to be here," said Calderón, a former road cyclist who’s only taken up the mountain bike discipline this year.
The cyclists highlighted the organisation and the hard-working 120 staff members. "We are very grateful for all the team that help us out, the way they do it and how they take such good care of every single racer," noted Colombian Eugenio Pineda from the Grandmaster category.
La Leyenda del Dorado, which will return next year to the Caldas department, was a true challenge for the 250 cyclists from 21 countries, due to its variable weather conditions, steep climbs and altitude that reached 3,850 metres above sea level on the Queen Stage, Volcano.