A hundred miles northeast of Bogotá, in the high-altitude department of Boyacá, is the village of Cómbita, birthplace of the greatest Latin American cyclist ever, Nairo Quintana. This land of winding roads sits at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet, and those roads climb even higher into the Andes. It is, as Quintana says, the incubator for Colombia’s top cyclists.
Quintana started riding a mountain bike to school as an 11-year-old. Then, in his teens, he competed in local and regional road races, before rising through the amateur ranks and onto the professional stage. As a racer for Movistar Team, in 2013 and 2015 he finished second at the Tour de France, and in 2014, he became the first Latin American to win the Giro D’Italia. Today, Quintana is widely viewed as one of the top cyclists in the world. The other top riders, including Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador, are 30, 31 and 33 respectively. Quintana is 26.