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An interview with Santiago Botero
Colombian Sportsman of the Year
By Luis Barbosa and Andrea Bianco
World Time Trial Champion Santiago Botero received a number of tributes and awards in Colombia in recognition of his efforts in professional cycling this year. His crowning achievement was when he was chosen as Colombia's best sportsman of the year 2002. Cyclingnews spoke to him during the ceremony that was held in the offices of the newspaper El Espectador, the organisation that has been granting the prize for 43 years.
CN: How did the relationship with Kelme-Costa Blanca finish?
SB: Well I reckon for both parties, because they were glad with the work that I did during these years and my contribution to the team, I should get what I wanted. Then I took a new step in my life, as a rider in another team.
CN: Your expectations for the next season?
SB: My first goal is to ride a good Tour de France and to be a protagonist, and if I race in the Vuelta (Tour of Spain), it's to be in good shape and to come out strong for the World's in Canada.
CN: What responsibility does Santiago Botero have within the Telekom team?
SB: I believe that they contracted a good rider, not that they are contracting for sure the next Champion of the Tour or the only leader. They are taking on a good rider who can bring a lot to the team, and I reckon I'm going to have less pressure than in Kelme, where together with Sevilla we were the only leaders and everything fell on us. In this team, the responsibility can be distributed more with Savoldelli and Evans for example. The team is putting a lot of confidence in me, and with a lot of training I'm going to pay it back.
CN: Will you spend more time preparing in Colombia with your first goal being the Tour?
SB: I like to prepare myself in Colombia where I have the best terrain to train with climbs reaching 8,000 feet, and nice spring weather all year round in my hometown, Medellìn. Plus I have got suitable people to help me prepare. The team has understood that, and they know that for me it is very important. After the first training camp I will return to carry on with my preparation in Colombia.
CN: Is there the possibility to race in Colombia?
SB: I do not believe that I can, I am here to train, and I am not going to race if I'm in a different stage of preparation doing lots of base miles. Anyway, I wouldn't exclude it completely
CN: So after the Training Camp de Mallorca, you will return to Colombia. When will be the first competition in Europe?
SB: The first goal is the Tour; the first races will be planned during the camp in Mallorca.
CN: What are the main changes going from Kelme to Telekom?
SB: Basically is the strength of the Telekom structure, with one of the best budgets and best organisations. To know they are going to provide me with all the means to do my job in the best way gives me the motivation to give my best to reach the goals.
The Colombian rider will go to Germany in the third week of January for the presentation of his new team, Deutsche Telekom.