The only Colombian who has worn the yellow jersey said that the current edition will be hard-fought as Froome will find much more fight
There are human beings who live to breathe cycling, and one of those examples is Víctor Hugo Peña, a former professional rider in the 90s and 2000s. Peña is the only Colombian who has been able to wear the yellow jersey as the leader of the Tour de France (2003) and who today analyzes in an exclusive interview for LatinAmerican Post, the preview of the forthcoming gala round. A fight that according to him, will be the most hard fought of the last years.
Víctor Hugo, who currently has 43 years, is the technical director of the Colombian continental team GW Shimano and is an official commentator on the international television network ESPN. The former athlete answered with certainty the questions of the press team of this medium, leaving for granted that the opportunities for Latin American runners to be protagonists are very clear.
LatinAmerican Post (LAP): Who are the favorites to win the Tour de France 2018?
Víctor Hugo Peña (VHP): "From my point of view, to win the Tour there is a bunch of 10 runners who will make this one of the most competitive editions of recent years. Any of the 10 has great options, for the quality, maturity and team, to take the final triumph. My list is composed by: Froome, Dumoulin, Nibali, Quintana, Bardet, Uran, Porte, Landa, Zakarin, and Adam Yates, all in that order, who will aspire to the title. Nobody can predict who will win because anything can happen."
LAP: What are the key points in this Tour?
VHP: "The Tour de France has no keys. Although the day of pavee, the times, the Formula 1 high mountain stage, and the fractions in the Pyrenees or Swiss Alps will be fundamental to define the race, the real key is in the day to day. I like to stress to the fans that there are no peak moments, because everything is important, even the flat stages. Every day you have to be attentive with food, with a fall, with winds, with group breaks, that can get anyone out of the fight. Even if it seems contradictory, I think that for complex stages everyone is alert, they study, they defend themselves and therefore they get the smallest differences."
LAP: How much can the stage of pavee and the counter-movements affect the Latin Americans?
VHP: "Obviously, for this particular edition, both the paved terrains and stone will be difficult for Colombians and Latin Americans, it may be due to the physical build and because they are not used to competing in these areas. Men like Rigo and Nairo will have a difficult time for these days, I do not want to think that in these days others will get an important difference, but I think that will depend on the work and protection of their teams".
LAP: What do you think about Froome’s controversy?
VHP: "The case of Christopher Froome is a thorny issue to explain, especially since there is still a lot of information going on in recent days, but what I think is that the problem is a regulatory anti-doping control leaked to the press and therefore a great scandal was created that everyone found out about. However, the truth is that [there are] many cyclists that people do not even know that have been investigated, and at the end many of them were acquitted of guilt. Froome had not tested positive for a banned substance, only an exceeded substance that he was allowed to consume. So, if he and the Sky could verify that he did not use of this consumption to have an advantage over the other riders, it is natural that a favorable record should come out for him, although of course we will have to wait as long as the subject is finished".
LAP: What will Egan Bernal's performance be like in his debut in the gala round?
VHP: "Egan proved to be at the level of the best. In Catalonia and California, he gave a first greeting to the World Tour cycling world. That's why I think he has the quality and he's in the team that he should have dreamed of and there may be a big role. He comes without any pressure and it would be a lack of respect to demand him something. What it is true is that if Froome competes, it must fulfill a gregarious function and it will be in that area that he will have to be evaluated."
Finally, the former runner took the opportunity to send a greeting to all the fans of Latin American cycling that closely followed his professional career and continue to support him today, "I feel very happy for all the love people give me daily and that is something that I greatly appreciate."
LatinAmerican Post | Freddy González
Translated from “Entrevista: El ex ciclista Víctor Hugo Peña analiza en exclusiva el Tour de Francia 2018”