PROLOGUESunday 28th July 2019
Stage cut off time: 6 hours
La Leyenda del Dorado 2019 will once again kick off in the Plaza de Bolívar, right in the heart of Manizales, on Sunday 28th July. At 51km, this is our longest prologue to date, and will give all 300 mountain bikers a true taste of what to expect in the next seven stages! Teams will roll down the ramp and pass around the crowd filled square before heading up to Chipre, the highest part of Manizales. Returning to the Leyenda route is the Colibrí Singletrack, steep, with banked curves, that passes through small coffee farms, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. A 5km climb follows up to Bisoño, which also featured on the 2018 route. We then welcome a completely new climb to La Leyenda, the Wall III, just 3km long, but at an average gradient of 12%, and with some sections up to a brutal 35%. The descent to Llano Grande passes more new tracks and immaculately kept countryside fincas and a final undulating 10km section brings you to the tropical heat of Confa La Rochela, your home for the next two nights of La Leyenda 2019.
Stage 1: COFFEEMonday 29th July 2019
Stage cut off time: 8 hours
Stage One is the first circuit day of La Leyenda 2019, with brand new sections running through the undulating coffee fields around the south western part of Caldas. There's a new, steep 300m climb through coffee farms upto Hacienda Guadalupe, which then gradually continues to the village of Cartagena with the first aid station of the day. There follows the first main descent down to the beautiful Campoalegre river, and a fast, flat section alongside the Canal de La Estrella. The day's biggest climb is up to Hacienda La Miranda and the stage summit at just over 1,700m, with coffee fields and colourful remote fincas lining the ascent, and stunning views from the top. The descent passes El Trebol and two more climbs remain, taking you through more verdant green countryside and tracks lined with giant bamboo trees, to finish the 65km stage at La Rochela, where you can have a well earned rest and dip in the numerous pools.
Stage 2: RIVERTuesday 30th July 2019
Stage cut off time: 11 hours
Stage 2, River, is the day that La Leyenda 2019 really kicks into gear! Leaving La Rochela, you head through Arauca and cross the powerful Cauca River, one of the most important in Colombia. Orange orchards line the route and then you’ll reach the Cauca once more, but this time crossing by way of the stunning old suspension bridge that featured in La Leyenda 2017, followed by the screams of thousands of spectators in the town of Km 41. There's a gradual climb over the next 20km or so, before the original and now infamous, "The Wall I,” - a 2.6km beast, with sections of up to 35% and an average gradient of 16%! At the village of Felicia you'll be welcomed by one of the most spectacular views of La Leyenda 2019 and the climb to the top of Pan de Azucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain), with a short descent to the packed streets of Aranzazu. A new climb takes riders to El Perro, a narrow ridge with breaktaking views and a descent follows to the Río Chamberí, and the final climb upto Salamina, one of Colombia's most beautiful towns with spectators lining the steep ascent to finish the stage. 104km and almost 3,500m of ascent...this is what La Leyenda's all about!
Stage 3: SALAMINA CIRCUITWednesday 31st July 2019
Stage cut off time: 5 hours
This year's middle stage is a new addition to La Leyenda, with racers taking on a 33km circuit around Salamina and its stunning rural surroundings. The stage starts in the Plaza in front of the beautiful church, winds its way through the steep streets, lined with colourful, traditional houses and crowds of enthusiastic supporters. After a short descent, you'll turn right and climb to Cañaveral, then begin the first Technical Terrain section of the day, the sweeping Topito singletrack in a narrow gully with coffee plants and dense vegetation flanking both sides. The second climb takes you up to La Divisa and the village of El Tigre marks the start of the new Macachi Technical Terrain, a new, steep singletrack through a remote finca that we've developed with the local mountain biking community. The temperature markedly increases as you descend through sugar cane plantations and a final 10km climb takes you back to Salamina and past the half way mark of La Leyenda 2019. You'll have the afternoon free to rest and relax in one of Colombia's most historic towns.
Stage 4: JUNGLEThursday 1st August 2019
Stage cut off time: 9 hours
Stage Four, Jungle, takes racers 76km south from Salamina, and was incredibly well received in 2018. A steep climb takes you onto remote tracks, surrounded by dense forest, and through rural villages with views across the cavernous valley. For the second time the route passes Aranzazu where thousands of people will no doubt be out in force once again. Small rivers, coffee plantations and avocado farms then line the route up Pan de Azucar, after which there is a fast steep descent down to the Pantanillo river with bamboo forest either side. The final, testing climb takes you up to Neira, incidentally passing the Leyenda CSR classroom building project at Colegio Pio XII. Yet again, the whole town will be waiting for racers on the steep climb up to the square, creating a finish more akin to the Tour de France than a mountain bike stage race. Forget about the pain, feel the energy and enjoy every second of this unique experience! Hot dogs and sandwiches will be available for all racers to soak in the party atmosphere and you'll then be transferred to Termales del Otoño, ready for brand new, imposing Volcano stage.
Stage 5: VOLCANOFriday 2nd August 2019
Stage cut off time: 12 hours
Cut off time at Cráter de La Olleta: 12 pm (6 hours)
Cut off time at El Pindo: 4.30 pm (10.5 hours)
Stage 5, Volcano, is La Leyenda 2019's brand new Queen Stage, and pushes the boundaries of mountain bike stage racing. Leaving from Termales del Otoño you'll climb up to Cerro Gualí and notice the lush vegetation gradually be replaced by intriguing, cactus like, Frailejones, as you reach 4,000m in the Páramo, one of the world's most unique environments. You’ll then enter the Los Nevados National Park and after a few more kilometres, the landscape suddenly changes to a lunar-esque desert, unlike anything you've seen before. Hairpins line the final ascent up to the Crater La Olleta, the race summit at 4,700m, next to the crater of one of Colombia's most famous volcanoes, Nevado del Ruíz, and a worthy place to crown the Kings and Queens of the Volcano. Probably the highest aid station in world cycling awaits before starting the long descent. A fast, sandy volcanic track takes you through the National Park, to El Cisne, the highest point of La Leyenda 2017 and 2018. The descent passes the huge 130m Molinos waterfall, and there’s a final short ascent to the finish. You can relax in the thermal springs and you are now within one stage of becoming a 2019 Legend. 106km, 3,465m of ascent, including going over the top of a volcano..the Queen Stage of Queen Stages...done!
Stage 6: EL DORADOSaturday 3rd August 2019
Stage cut off time: 4 hours
Stage Six, El Dorado, is the final and shortest stage of South America's premier mountain bike stage race, at just 24 km, taking riders back to Manizales. There's one more ascent up to Alto La Morena and then follow the super fun, fast, flowing Morena and Morenita tracks to Bosque Popular for the finale of La Leyenda 2019, with its open spaces allowing for thousands of fans to come and enjoy the spectacle. Three laps of the park's 3 km cross country circuit are the last obstacle before you cross the Finish Line to pick up your Finishers medal and t-shirt. Enjoy the moment, reflect on your achievement and let all the emotion out! To add a twist to the final stage, the amateurs will leave and finish before the pros, meaning all the spectators and amateurs can enjoy the carnival like atmosphere and arrival of the top riders, a fitting end to an outstanding week of mountain bike stage racing. Everyone can then share the final awards ceremony togethers before reliving all the week's experiences with old and new friends at the Legends End of Race Party that night to bring La Leyenda 2019 to a close!