[singlepic id=2424 w=320 h=240 float=right]Growing up riding in the hills of Colombia, Andrés Diaz is no stranger to mountains and altitude.
A strong climber, Andrés is a natural for the mountains of Colorado and proved such last year with an impressive 29th overall finish in the inaugural USA Pro Challenge, while riding with some of the top riders in the world.
We caught a bit of time with Andrés between the Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge to learn a bit more about him, his background and his plans for this year’s USA Pro Challenge.
When did you know you wanted to be a pro cyclist
When I was 11, a guy came to my school and told us that if we wanted to race they would give us a bike for first place, a frame for second place and a helmet for third. My friends said let’s go and do the race. I did it and I got third place. So I got the helmet. And, I started loving it and riding every day.
Of the major US races, which is tougher – Utah, California or Colorado?
Utah. Utah is really tough. In Colorado, it is a very good race and there are all big names here and for me it’s pretty good to be in Colorado.
[singlepic id=2075 w=320 h=240 float=left]How does riding in the US compare to riding in Colombia?
It’s way different in Colombia. Everything is climbing, everything is climbing. We don’t have a lot of flatter stages, maybe one or two.
Here is more technical, more like European-style. I am talking about Utah, California and Colorado because the U.S races like Redlands and Cascadia are very short races, so they are very fast with a lot of attacks.
What’s been your best riding experience?
My best riding experience, for me, was last year here in Colorado in the US Pro Challenge. It was pretty good. I raced with Cadel Evans and Andy Schleck and I did pretty well, so I was climbing with the top 20 guys everyday, so it was pretty good.
Racing in Venezuela – I got sick, I had a crash. I dropped very soon and I had to finish the race so the director left a car with me, and the car started having problems, so they couldn’t follow me. I was like four hours with no water, nothing. When I got to the finish there was nothing – no finish line, nothing. That’s my worst. I stopped in a park and I cried.
The worst part, I was thinking, okay its over. But, for being an international rider, they allowed me to race the next day.
Do you have your eye on any particular stage or stages of the USA Pro Challenge this year?
No, I am very open and trying to look for the breakaway on any day. Any day, I just want to win a stage and have a good showing.
Shortlink to article: http://wp.me/P2qW5j-1iuArticle by Kim Hull
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