After checking into the Pokolodi we met with David Evangelista, Team Colombia Press Secretary, at our local Starbucks (in which Starbucks we ran into Peter Sagan. David explained some of the challenges and expectations Team Colombia had in mind for the coming week.
“Our amenities are kind-of reduced here in America: we have two minivans, two SUVs and a large mechanic’s truck. Having a bus is always a big for the team, the guys love to get comfortable after the race and maybe have a shower. But I don’t feel like they’re going to suffer much without it here, partly because we have really short transfers. To do the Giro without the bus would be terrifying. The thing is our riders aren’t used to complaining a lot. They just do their job and get in the van and have a banana, and they’re fine. It’s a cultural matter; their approach to people—everybody, not just insiders but outsiders too. It’s their approach to the fans, who they like to get in touch with.
Even when they are at a restaurant eating dinner and get asked for autographs, they are humble, they are approachable and grateful.”
“Most of them have experience racing for regional Colombian teams which are less organized and have fewer amenities. For many the first time they ever rode on a big bus was in Italy, on this team. The team really takes care of the riders: when the riders moved to Italy the team helped them with visas—not just for the riders but for the their families too—and the team also helped the riders find places to live and to shop for food, etc. Food was a big learning curve. Honestly, they’re still on that learning curve, getting used to the food. They eat too many eggs. And in Colombia they are used to eating a big plate with everything on it, but in Italy it’s customary to eat in many courses. So back in Italy they would eat a big plate of pasta, then a big plate of bread, then a big plate of meat—instead of eating four smaller plates they eat four huge ones.
“They have quite a number of big names here, the Sky guys like Chris Froome and Richie Porte will be in the thick of the action, and take a close look at Tejay, he is very good at this kind of race. Andrew Talansky is also here, I think he will also be in the fight for GC. We have Peter Sagan, who is definitely not fighting for GC but I think he might have a couple of stages that will suit him really well. We came here with battling intentions, with a team mostly full of riders that can climb extremely well, but also a sprinter who is climbing very well at the moment, who could make it over some of the climbs and be in a position to win. We have Darwin who is flying, hopefully he doesn’t suffer too much for his injury (left knee). The altitude is definitely an advantage for us, we feel we can make a difference there.”