Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Lucho's rise to the top!

Lucho Herrera's prestigious 1984 Tdf victory on stage 17, Grenoble - L'Alpe d'Huez, 151 km.


The 1984 Colombia amateur team jersey.
Simple with eye catching colors. Befitting for the Colombian mountain goats.
www.memoire-du-cyclisme.net

Colombian cycle racing had for many years been popular. The major cities: Bogota, Medellin and Cali are located high in the mountains. The roads over the passes are not very steep and do not include hairpin turns. So, to be a great racing cyclist in Colombia you had to be a very good climber, because the races were rarely longer than 160 km’s. Nineteen eighty-three was in a way a landmark year for the Tour as Felix Levitan succeeded in securing an amateur team from Colombia. They were helpless especially during the long flat stages, riding at the rear of the peloton often losing contact as the tempo increased. However, as the mountains beckoned the Colombian's came into their element. But at last in 1984, the Colombian's introduced their super-climber, Luis 'Lucho' Herrera.

Lucho took care of the major mountain men and with 20 km's to go dropped Breu, Millar, Arroyo and Fignon before catching and passing the courageous Hinault. Lucho would go on to win the prestigious stage 17 alone, some 49 seconds from second place Laurent Fignon. There was an estimated 20 million fellow Colombian radio fans that went into a state of frenzy as their man entered into Tour history.

It was Colombia's first Tour de France stage win and captapulted Lucho Herrera into instant herodom!


Next: The newest Colombian mountain goat.

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