After a 12-year hiatus, the Colombian cycling tour La Vuelta a Colombia returns to the capital Bogotá for the final sprint and award ceremony on Sunday, April 25. The competition kicks off Friday in Yopal, departmental capital of Casanare, before the 25 teams begin a nine-stage race covering 1,190 km to reach Bogotá, amid coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns. Among the lead contenders to clinch the 71st edition of La Vuelta are Juan Suárez of team EPM, four-time champion Óscar Sevilla (Team Medellín) and Didier Merchán (Tierra de Atletas).
The final stage in Bogotá is a grueling 126 km dash of 10 laps from Parque Nacional on Carrera 7 with Calle 36 to the Circunvalar and north to Calle 74 with Séptima. “Just as the great races of the world, such as Tour de France or Giro d’Italia, culminate in their capitals, Bogotá will host the final stage of the most important cycling race in our country,” stated the district’s Mobility Secretariat Nicolás Estupiñán.
“Bogotá and the bicycle have a close relationship dating back 70 years, when in 1951, the first Colombia Tour took place, and which began and ended in the capital,” affirmed Estupiñán. Bogotá has the most extensive bicycle-only lane network in Latin America with 585 km of permanent routes, as well as 46 km of temporary lanes added to the grid in 2020 to facilitate eco-friendly transportation during the pandemic. La Vuelta is ranked as a 2.2 road race along with Tour of Japan, Tour de Serbie and Five Rings of Moscow according to the sport’s global authority Union Cycliste Internationale.