50th Vuelta a Colombia - 2.5

Colombia, June 11 - 26, 2000

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Stage 12 - June 22: Pereira-Ibagué, 125 km

Live report

12th stage: Pereira-Ibagué Pereira (8:00 a.m. local time) "La Línea" (The Line) is the 3.900 meter summit of today's stage. La Línea marks the watershed of the central sierra of the Andes in Colombia. There's a murmur among the riders that the G.C. could change considerably as a result of today's climb. After a 47 km hop over a category 3 climb to Armenia, the riders will then face a climb of 2.350 meters in 23 kms (7,100' in 14 miles) to La Línea where rarified air will greet them on their long descent to Ibagué. The 05 Orbitel riders feel ready to defend their 1 and 2 spots on the G.C., and their overall leadership. Other teams have been saving their best climbers for this day. As the riders move to the staging area, local residents offer them "un tinto", a one shot drink of steaming concentrated coffee. They will need more along the way...

Pereira 9:00 a.m. (local time). Time for a couple more "tintos". Word from the highway patrol is of heavy landslides near Cajamarca, a town on the other side of "La Línea", and on the steep descent to Ibagué. Nothing like having to dodge rolling boulders along the road at 70 kph... So the start has been delayed two hours until 10:30 in order to get heavy equipment to the area, clear the slides, and provide a margin of safety for the riders. Some riders' anxiety levels rise, others are glad for the extra hours of recovery. Others reach for more of the bitter "tinto".

Meanwhile, word comes from Gianni Savio (Selle-Italia team manager) who is back in Europe, that Selle is signing on 26 yr old Jhon Freddy García (he and his close friends spell it "Jhon", formally it's John) sprint winner of the 10th stage at Cali. García is small for a sprinter, but also makes him a fairly good climber. "García is a sprinter worthy of a showing in Europe", said Savio, who has made a commitment to add Colombians to the Selle-Italia team.

No word yet from road service. When there's a partial landslide in these areas the whole area tends to become unstable, but the Vuelta must go on. Team 05 Orbitel hopes to keep Palacio, Herrera, and Ramírez in 1,2,3, and sustain if not add to their 6 out of 10 riders in the G.C. Others see this as their chance to break the 05 Orbitel dominance. So far, the mountain is having the last word this morning...

2:00 p.m. Palacio leads into Ibagué. Overall race leader was a landslide of his own. 7 kms from the finish line at Ibagué he leads by 11 secs. a breakaway that developed on the climb to La Línea. The road ready for the descent, and Palacio is showing his leadership. No one will gain on him on this difficult stage...

Ibagué 3:00 p.m. local time. There was one who could gain some time on overall race leader, and that was team mate Elder Herrera who was on that breakaway descent from La Línea. At the end Herrera's loyalty faltered but not his legs, and gained 10 secs. on Palacio. That puts Herrera at 1'09" secs. from Palacio on the G.C., and Urbelino Mesa (Lotería de Boyacá) third at 2'59". Thus the surprise today was that there was no surprise, except for some seemingly healthy "sibling rivalry" among the two top 05 Orbitel riders.

Reports courtesy of Haroldo Camacho


1. Elder Herrera (Col) 05-Orbitel	          3.50.35
2. Héctor Iván Palacio (Col) 05-Orbitel		     0.04
3. Uberlino Mesa (Col) Lotería de Boyacá
4. Héctor Manuel Castaño (Col) 05-Orbitel	     0.16
5. Ubaldo Mesa (Col) Lotería de Boyacá
6. Jair Bernal (Col) Lotería de Boyacá
7. Alvaro Sierra (Col) Lotería de Boyacá
8. Raúl Montaña (Col) Selle-Italia 
9. Angel Yesid Camargo (Col) Lotería de Boyacá  
10. Federico Muñoz (Col) Ciclistas de Jesucristo  

General classification after stage 12:

1. Héctor Iván Palacio (Col) 05-Orbitel          43.50.03
2. Elder Herrera (Col) 05-Orbitel		     1.09
3. Uberlino Mesa (Col) Lotería de Boyacá	     2.59
4. Héctor Manuel Castaño (Col) 05-Orbitel	     3.54
5. Dubán Ramírez (Col) 05-Orbitel		     4.28
6. Alexis Rojas (Col) Aguardiente Cristal-Chec 	     5.44
7. Ubaldo Mesa (Col) Lotería de Boyacá		     7.32
8. Julio César Aguirre (COL)			     7.38
9. Jair Bernal (Col) Lotería de Boyacá		     8.21
10. Federico Muñoz (Col) Ciclistas de Jesucristo    10.06