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Fan Club: Team Manzana Postobón

Fan Club

Fan Club: Team Manzana Postobón

Now you’ll know who prefers to put rice in their sancocho, instead of putting sancocho in their rice.

Fan Club: Team Manzana Postobón

I II

I Manzana Postobón: History

Six years ago, we went to Colombia. We met riders and staff from the 4-72-Colombia team in both Medellín and Bogotá. They were a small continental team that focused on U23 riders, and had recently won the Tour de l’Avenir twice (once with Nairo Quintana, and once with Esteban Chaves). Since then, the team has changed sponsors, and operated as both a professional (continental) and amateur team at different times. But its structure and staff have more or less been the same throughout. Last year, the team announced a new sponsor. Manzana Postobón. A bright pink, apple-flavored soda produced by Postobón. A Colombian soft drink company founded in 1904, which sponsored a cycling team during the 1980s and early 90s. That iteration of the team (only connected to the current one by its sponsor, and thus its name) had significant wins like the 1991 Dauphiné Libéré with Lucho Herrera. They also tried to sign Stephen Roche in 1989, and a potential merger with Motorola was reported by the Colombian press.

 

By 1992, however, the team started to come undone. At the Tour de France, only two of the team’s riders made it to the last stage. As a result, team director Raul Mesa began to cry in the team car as they turned into the Champs-Élysées. They weren’t invited to the Tour in 1993, and the team’s budget was cut significantly. They continued to race in Colombia with mixed results. By then, Café De Colombia had folded, and with Postobon (also called Manzana Postobon and Ryalcao Postobon through the years), not racing in Europe, it’s fair to say that Colombia’s so-called “golden era” was more or less over.

 

In 1995, during a team camp, riders refused to train due to torrential rain. Assistant director Alfonso López became angry, questioning their commitment to the team and the sport. Three riders eventually relented. Nestor Mora, Agustino Triana and Hernán Patiño went out to train, as López shamed other riders for their lack of dedication. Not long after riding off, all three riders were struck and killed by a car. Alfonso López fell into a deep depression, blaming himself for their deaths. After months spent in his bedroom, often crying uncontrollably, his spirits began to lift. But it was then that he got the call from the team’s sponsor. They had decided to end their sponsorship, choosing to focus on soccer as a marketing vehicle instead.

 

While the team ended, many remembered them fondly as part of Colombia’s rise in the sport. Which helps explain why the soft drink company’s return to the sport, instantly brought back memories for so many.

 

Their evolution has been impressive, especially when one considers that three years ago they were racing as an amateur team. Now, they are at the Vuelta a España, racing as underdogs. Perhaps that contributes to their charm, as does the fact that they are Colombian (with the exception of only two riders). The number of admirers holding signs and flags along the race’s route is beyond impressive. It’s easy to see that they are loved at the Vuelta.

 

While spending time with the team at the Vuelta, we can’t help but think back to our initial meeting six years ago. Before too long, we’ll be posting all the shots from that initial trip to Colombia. For now, enjoy this gallery. A sampling of what’s to come. Consider it an appetizer. Like a really good appetizer, one good enough that you’d consider making into your entrée. Except the entrée is still to come.

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II Fan Club (Mini): Team Manzana Postobón
11 Questions with Eight Riders

There’s a certain homogenous quality to a bike race. You know, much in the way that a school of fish, or migrating birds are far more interesting than the singular object. But through that homogenizing effect, the making of one out of the many, individuality is lost. Matching kit, matching bikes, matching helmets. Stand on the side of the road at any race, and you’ll hear fans (even devoted ones) ask one another if so-and-so already passed. No one knows. They have no idea. And sometimes we have no idea either. We’d love to come up with a way to fix this problem. Football-style names in the backs of their jerseys? Constant race numbers throughout the season? We’ll keep trying to think of solutions, big lofty ones that will surely change the face of the sport. In the meantime, however, please accept the following mini-Fan Clubs for six of Manzana Postobon’s riders. It’s not much, but at least now you’ll know which of them prefers to put rice in their sancocho, instead of putting sancocho in their rice.

Hernán Aguirre

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    I don’t remember.
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    It was of a professional cyclist, but I have no idea who.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    Sign of the cross, always.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    Chocolate.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Neither, they should be separate.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    Yes, yes.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Working with and caring for livestock.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Don’t make noise while I’m trying to sleep. That’s it.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    Alto de Minas.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Yes, during Christmas.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    He didn’t bring me gifts, my parents gave me the gifts directly.

Hernando Bohórquez

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    I don’t read books. The last one I read was probably the Nacho book you learn to read with.
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    It was always whatever calendar the supermarket gave away.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    I give myself the sign of the cross.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    Café con leche.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Rice goes in the sancocho.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    No, I never drink chocolate.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Sleeping.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Be nice, help out when needed. That’s all.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    Paramo de Guasca.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Yeah, I love shooting them off. I love blowing stuff up, shooting bottle rockets.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    He never gave us gifts. We’d wake up and there would be nothing.

Jetse Bol

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    South Of The Border, West of the Sun (Haruki Murakami).
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    It was a team photo of AZ Alkmaar (a Dutch soccer team).
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    Nothing before a race, but I have one superstition. I don’t like to have the salt passed to me directly. I ask the person to put it on the table, and then I pick it up.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    Normally coffee, but when I’m in Colombia I like chocolate.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Don’t think I’ve had sancocho actually.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    Yes, I love it.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    I have no idea. Cycling has been my life since I was 18 at least. It’s all I know.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Someone that is like me. Same habits and similar schedule. That’s why I like Ricardo. Same schedule.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    Calderas.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Sure.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    We had Sinterklaas, on December 5th.

Sebastián Molano

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    Caballo de Troya (José Benítez).
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    Never had any.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    I always do a sign of the cross.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    I like both actually.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Rice into sancocho.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    Yes.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Man, I have no idea.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Someone that has the same routine as me.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    There’s one in Bucaramanga I love. Can’t remember the name though.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Yes.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    Nah, gifts were under the tree.

Fernando Orejuela

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    Juan Salvador Gaviota (Richard Bach).
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    Didn’t have any.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    Always have to do the sign of the cross and do a quick prayer to protect me.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    Café con leche.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Rice should go in the sancocho.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    Yes.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Driving a truck, which is what my dad does. And going to school to become a veterinarian.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Respect my space. Both personal, and within the room.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    Las Palmas, in Medellín.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Of course.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    No Baby Jesus in my house. Papa Noel came at midnight.

Juan Felipe Osorio

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    Juan Salvador Gaviota (Richard Bach).
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    I don’t remember.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    I say a quick prayer.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    Aways café con leche.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Rice in sancocho.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    Only sometimes.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Studying electrical engineering.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Be clean, don’t be a pig. Respect my stuff and my space.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    Minas, and I hate La Linea.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Yes
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    Sometimes under the bed, but sometimes we had no gifts.

Aldemar Reyes

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Bernardo Suaza

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    El Triunfador (Hans Ruesch).
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    A calendar with horses on it.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    Sign of the cross.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    Neither. Tinto [black coffee].
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Rice in the sancocho.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    No. Only in aguapanela.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Doing general labor in the fields, probably in a potato farm.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Respect my sleep. That’s all I care about.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    Alto De La Union.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    I love watching them go off, but I have this fear about shooting them off. Fear of getting burned.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    Under my pillow.

Ricardo Vilela

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  1. What was the last book you read?
    It’s been a long time, I don’t remember.
  2. What poster/s hung on your wall when you were a kid?
    Never had any.
  3. Pre-race rituals?
    None really.
  4. Hot chocolate or café con leche?
    I like both.
  5. Should rice go into the sancocho, or should sancocho go into the rice?
    Don’t know, I don’t think I’ve ever had sancocho.
  6. Cheese in your hot chocolate?
    Don’t know, don’t think I’ve ever had that.
  7. If you weren’t a cyclist, what would you be doing right now?
    Studying sports science.
  8. What makes someone a good roommate during a race?
    Keep the room very clean. If he wants to stay up, just be absolutely quiet.
  9. Favorite or most memorable climb in Colombia?
    There’s a climb in Envigado, but I don’t remember the name.
  10. Do you like fireworks?
    Sure.
  11. Where did Baby Jesus leave the presents?
    My parents just gave me my gifts.
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