Colombia saw off the challenge of Denmark and the Netherlands to claim gold in the Nanjing men’s cycling team event. It means that for the second Youth Olympic Games in a row, the title in this event has gone to a country from South America.
John Anderson Rodriguez Salazar led the Colombians across the line in the road race component of the event, to take his team’s cumulative total to 273 points. Denmark took the silver medal with 257, narrowly pipping the Dutch, who finished just one point behind to claim bronze.
“I’m really happy,” said Rodriguez Salazar. “The course looked easy yesterday when we tried it, but in the race the level was really high. But we worked really hard for this.”
“I hope the result will open the door – maybe next year a European team will take me on. Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran [two Colombian cyclists who ride professionally in Europe] are a big inspiration. I want to be like them and maybe go beyond them.”
All the riders spoke of a tough day in the saddle. “It was unbelievably hard and hot. But it is great to win a silver medal,” beamed Danish rider Mikkel Honore. “I won the time trial event, so I’m happy that I did enough to help get us on the podium. Nanjing has been a great experience.”
Meanwhile, bronze medal winner Wiebe Scholten (NED) paid tribute to team-mate Niek Kimmann for helping the Dutch secure the third spot on the podium.
“[He]is a BMX rider, but he managed to do two laps of the course with the peleton, which is an amazing achievement,” said Scholten.