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After landing in Italy in January 2012, El Puma was the one to clinch the team’s first success in stage 4 of the 2012 Giro del Trentino atop the Passo Pordoi. “It was the biggest day in my career,” said Atapuma.

Photo: Sirotti


15.11.2013 @ 09:52 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

In 2014, for the first time in Team Colombia’s short history, Darwin Atapuma won’t be part of Claudio Corti’s troops at the start of a new season. After two seasons spiced by as many wins – the most recent in Tour de Pologne on stage 6 – and marked by consistent progress, Darwin is now set to make his debut in the WorldTour ranks.


“It will be a very different experience,” Atapuma explained. “I’ll be part of one of the biggest teams in cycling, and I am looking forward to facing such a challenge. On the other hand, I am really sorry to leave a context into which I have blended perfectly, with friends and a number of people who have been of huge importance to me in these couple of years. Without them, I would not have made it to the WorldTour.”


“I will always be grateful to Claudio Corti for believing in me, and getting me the opportunity to compete on the World stage. Claudio and the whole technical team always made me feel important, giving their best to support us in any aspects, not only in the sport practice: getting used to a different place and lifestyle was not easy, but sports directors, masseurs, mechanics, never let us down or made us feel alone.”


After landing in Italy in January 2012, El Puma was the one to clinch the team’s first success in stage 4 of the 2012 Giro del Trentino atop the Passo Pordoi. “It was the biggest day in my career,” added Atapuma, who managed to reclaim his elite status barely a month later in Tour of California’s queen stage to Mt. Baldy, where he was edged only by an impressive comeback by Robert Gesink.


In his second year in Europe, Atapuma took a top-20 GC placement in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, and took his and the team’s first WorldTour win at the Tour de Pologne: after grazing the top spot in Madonna di Campiglio, El Puma managed to raise his arms in stage 6 in Bukovina Tatrzanska, with an impressive show of determination.


“In 2013, I showed everyone – and myself in first place – that I could hold on with the strongest in the biggest races in the world. I owe that to the great work made with Sports Directors Valerio Tebaldi, Oscar Pellicioli and Oliverio Rincon, the whole Team Colombia staff and my teammates, who shared my path in a beautiful experience that will imprint my sports career forever.”

Atapuma’s final major satisfaction as a Team Colombia rider came in September, when he was selected to race the Elite World Championships’ Road Race for Colombia for the first time.


“I was proud to represent one of the strongest national teams at the present time, the expression of a movement that is arguably growing like never before. More and more athletes from Colombia are getting their chance in top cycling, and I believe Team Colombia’s project is having a huge role in that, opening doors for young prospects and attracting the media attention on our movement.”


Atapuma will join the BMC Racing Team for the 2014 season.



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