QCOSTARICA – Last night Casa Presidencial was dressed in the colour pink, so was the Movistar offices in Escazu, in celebration of a historic day for country and cyclist Andrey Amador, who become the first rider from Costa Rica to wear the Giro d’Itlia pink race leader’s jersey.
“It’s a special day for me and it’s a historic day for Costa Rican cycling. I’m really happy to be in pink after 13 hard stages and be up with the favourites to win the Giro d’Italia,” Amador said with pride.
“Even though we’re a small country there’s a cycling tradition in Costa Rica. Former riders like Federico Ramirez and Adrian Bonilla helped me climb the mountain in the world of professional cycling and helped me race in Spain. We’re trying to develop cycling and grow internationally. I know that people at home are there supporting me through the good and bard times, I know they’re to help me.”
Amador fought hard to stay with the select lead group of overall contenders on the little-known but steep climbs in the Julian Alps of northern Friuli. He was dropped on the final climb but chased back and took the pink jersey from Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep), who also fought all day but finished 50 seconds back. Amador pulled on the maglia rosa and now leads the talented Luxembourg rider by 26 seconds.
Amador leads Alejandro Valverde by 43 seconds as the overall contenders are set to tackle the queen stage of the Giro d’Italia in the spectacular Dolomites on Saturday. Amador finished fourth in the 2015 Giro d’Italia but put aside his personal ambitions and vowed loyalty to Valverde and the Movistar team.
“We came to the Giro d’Italia with Alejandro as the undisputed leader. We know the phenomenal rider that he is and that the team is in great shape,” he said.
“We’ve still got to think about tomorrow yet but I hope that Alejandro is my grand successor in the pink jersey. I know who I am and where I come from, so I have no problem dedicating myself to help Alejandro. I’ll give him 100% support and help him to achieve our goal of having the pink jersey on stage 21 in Turin. We’ve got it on the 13th stage and that is a great start.”