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“I believe, that after racing Burgos and the Vuelta, I will be ready for the world championships. I’ve seen a lot of disparaging comments about me, including from my own team, but I’m back, and I’m ready to race.”

Photo: Sirotti

CARLOS ALBERTO BETANCUR

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DECATHLON AG2R LA MONDIALE

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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17.08.2014 @ 13:10 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Carols Betancur is looking to get his career back on track at the Vuelta a Espana later this month. The 24 year old Colombian, who won two stages and the overall at Paris-Nice this Spring, missed the Tour de France due to going home to Colombia and not returning on time to take part in the event. He has also been reported as being overweight throughout the season.

 

“I believe, that after racing Burgos and the Vuelta, I will be ready for the world championships. I think I will be OK by the final week of the Vuelta. I will try to win a stage or do something to show myself,” Betancur told VeloNews. “This is what I love to do. I like to race my bike. I’ve seen a lot of disparaging comments about me, including from my own team, but I’m back, and I’m ready to race.”

 

Betancur insists he’s been sick with a viral infection since last fall, and told Ag2r La Mondiale management he was not healthy enough to race the Tour.

 

After abandoning the Catalunya and Basque Country tours, and pulling out of Liège-Bastogne-Lìege, Betancur returned to Colombia. Betancur said he wanted to fully recover from his stubborn illness.

 

“I was sick. The team knew that I was diagnosed with a virus, yet they still didn’t support me. The plan was to race the Tour de France, but I couldn’t do it,” Betancur said. “I would have liked to have raced the Tour, but I wanted to go in condition to do it well. There was a little bit of misunderstanding, but in the end, I was right. One cannot go to the Tour when one is sick.”

 

AG2R manager Vincent Lavenu has openly blasted Betancur’s attitude and has even promised to drop Betancur at the end of this year even though he has a contract with the team for next year.

 

“It’s annoying,” Lavenu told CyclingWeekly in June. “There are always problems with him. Betancur is special. I don’t know if other Colombians are as complicated as mine.”

 

Betancur is heavily being linked to Patrick Lefevere’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team but he admits he is hurt by Lavenu’s comments.

 

“Those comments bothered me,” Betancur told VeloNews and a reporter from Biciciclismo.com. “Everyone has the right to say what they want, but I am one of the few riders on this team who races and actually wins anything. What else can I say? I don’t know.”

 

When pressed if he is leaving the team, Betancur would only say, “I don’t know. We’ll see how the rest of the season goes.”

 

Despite being overweight, other pros are already remarking that Betancur has enough talent to give them all a hard time, even if he is off his game.

 

“Betancur might be overweight, but he’ll still drop us all on the climbs,” one anonymous pro remarked.

 

Betancur says he is close to full health and vows to return to his 2013 Spring form, which resulted in top performances in Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro, where he was fifth overall in his debut Grand Tour and he won the Best Young Rider Jersey, after a thrilling battle with Rafal Majka.

 

“It’s been sad, and [I] couldn’t count on the support of my team. I’ve always demonstrated that I am rider who can win,” Betancur said. “It was very sad to miss all this time. It’s something that my team doesn’t seem to understand, that I love to race the bike. After winning Paris-Nice, I wanted to continue with success in Catalunya, Basque Country, the Ardennes, and then the Tour. Normally, I would have arrived at the Tour in top shape. That’s cycling. You just have to keep looking forward.”

 

He also assures his fans that he has lost no self-confidence despite all that has gone on this season.

 

“I won Paris-Nice without being at 100 percent. When I am in optimum condition, I know I can be up there with the top riders,” he concluded.

 

“I am barely starting to come back. I’ve only started training a month ago. This is my first race after four or five months, I am sure it’s going to be difficult, but this is what I love to do.”

 

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