The discussion about the impact that the tax reform proposed by the government of Gustavo Petro could have is not the only thing that has turned Colombia "around" in the last week.
A platoon of 157 women has pedaled for six days, on a 540-kilometer journey along highways in three departments: Cundinamarca, Boyacá and Santander.
Cyclists from Colombian teams and from five other countries have overcome ascents and descents, facing the wind, seeking the title of the seventh edition of the competition, one of the most demanding in all of America.
Diana Peñuela, who won the national road championship in February after suffering broken collarbones in the previous two years, has a solid lead.
At 35 years old, she became the first Colombian to win four consecutive stages: the first three that totaled more than 325 kilometers, a distance greater than the Madrid metro network (Spain), and an individual time trial of 21.3 kilometers in 39 minutes and 40 seconds.
“Teamwork means a lot for a good result.
Having good conditions and colleagues who pursue the same goal can achieve extraordinary things, ”says the athlete who was born in Caldas, in the coffee region.
Competitors like her see cycling as life: it is essential to maintain balance, there are ups and downs, falls that require getting back up, and believing in yourself is essential.
“Many times the rival is inside, not outside”, is one of her convictions.
Peñuela is part of the United States DNA Pro Cycling team.
She rode Italy's Alé Cipollini on the World Tour in Europe in 2019 and has participated in European events such as the Tour of Norway, La Course and Madrid Challenge.
The Tour of Colombia meets the standards required by the International Cycling Union (UCI), the governing body of cycling worldwide.
The high participation of cyclists not only confirms the prominence that women have gained in sport, but also the importance of decisive support so that they can travel this path with dignity.
“Before there was no competition.
Now there are better formed teams and international training”, says Rocío Parrado, former professional cyclist and director of the Tierra de Atletas team, supported by the Ministry of Sports.
“A few years ago, only small races were held.
With the creation of the Vuelta a Colombia and its inclusion in the UCI international calendar, women's cycling has been growing”, explains Mauricio Vargas, president of the Colombian Cycling Federation.
In its beginnings, it had only about 50 registered.
Live broadcasting on open national television has been a key element in attracting fans and sponsors, something that is still pending, for example, in women's football.
Despite the evolution, there are challenges such as strengthening private support for national teams, not only in Colombia but in Latin America.
The economic gaps in football are also repeated in cycling.
Recognitions are up to 13 times or higher for men's teams than women's in local and international competitions.
The sixth and final stage of the Vuelta a Colombia will take place this Sunday in Bucaramanga.
The country seeks to recover the title after three years in which it has been among foreign riders: Aranza Villalón, from Chile;
Miryam Núñez, from Ecuador;
and Lilibeth Chacón, from Venezuela.
The first three editions were won by Colombian Ana Cristina Sanabria.
This year, competitors from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, Ecuador, Canada, Japan and Venezuela participate in a total of 29 teams.
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