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by Luis Barbosa and Andrea Bianco
Cyclingnews spoke to Tour de Langkawi winner Hernan Dario Muñoz after his press conference at the Colombian Cycling Federation, just a few days after his career best win and a 30-plus hour flight from Malaysia.
Cyclingnews: Nice to have you back with a big win after all the accidents you had in the last few year.
Hernán Darío Muñoz You are quite right; it is good to be back.
CN: I don't want to make the readers cry, but let's remember them to put your win in perspective.
HDM: Okay, lets exorcise them. In the 1999 season I crashed during the Vuelta a Colombia and broke my skull and as a consequence I had a facial paralysis. 2000, after I recovered I crashed in Spain while racing and broke my kneecap in five parts. I spent nine months with no bike and a strong shade of depression lingering, because I didn't know if I could race again. My family was very supportive and thanks to them I got through it. Then, cherry on the pie, I went down again after I recovered, five days from the Spanish Vuelta and broke my radius and ulna.
CN: So the team "released" you at the end of last season for the lack of results?
HDM: Nice way to put it, you can say they sacked me.
CN: So is this win a "rebirth"?
HDM: It is like a second breath after all the bad luck.
CN: Lets talk about Malaysia.
HDM: Good race, strong riders, a very strong Robert Hunter, but things went well. I had to be very attentive in the wind and one day they almost got me out of an echelon and I did bite the handlebar for a while.
CN: Tell us about Getting Highlands, the mountain stage.
HDM: I felt okay. The team paced me in the flat part and gave me confidence. Then the climb came, a real climb, like in Europe and Colombia. Eight of us stayed in the front group after 12 km of climbing. Hunter was there, I couldn't shake him off. Then Lanfranchi went, Hunter covered the move, it was my turn to go, and I went hard. I saw a small gap, and went for it like crazy for a mile to get out of sight. I was making the time up, but it was very painful. It was quite close in the end. This win was very special for me, I cried like it was my first win.
CN: Would you like to be back in Langkawi?
HDM: Sure, for the race, the organization and the points (UCI Ranking).
CN: Do you feel you can give more?
HDM: Yes, I believe so and this year I will show my real potential.
CN: What does it mean to you to race again in Colombia?
HDM: Over here races are hard because of the quality of riders and the many mountains, and to be the winner in Langkawi gives you confidence.
CN: Room for another Colombian team in Malaysia?
HDM: Yes, it could be interesting to have team 05 Orbitel and more firepower in the mountains.
CN: Plans for the rest of this long season?
HDM: Giro d'Italia. To help my team mates Carlos Contreras and Freddy Gonzalez, but I will try to leave my mark.
CN: After all happened to you, can you rely on what happened to Lance Armstrong?
HDM: Sure. What I most admire in him is his mental strength and his ability to recover.
CN: How many more years of professional cycling?
HDM: 6 or 7, but the day I will not climb comfortably anymore I will stop.
CN: As a Colombian rider what is best to win, Vuelta a Colombia or Clasico RCN?
HDM: Vuelta, it means a lot over here and it is just 5 days short from a big European stage race like the Vuelta or the Giro.
CN: Room for more Colombian riders in Europe?
HDM: Yes, but we need a strong first division team in Europe like we had with Café de Colombia in the past. Colombian riders need to race all the time with the best riders and we can be leaders and not just team workers.
A word, an answer.
CN: Colombia Selle Italia
HDM: A new opportunity
CN: Santiago Botero
CN: Cycling in Colombia
HDM: It carries the flag
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