COLOMBIA SPORTS NEWS — With its professional cyclists winning international competitions. And that has led to increased popularity throughout the nation. We get more now from our friends at AFP.

Every Sunday, hundreds of Bogota’s cyclists climb the mountains that surround the Colombian capital. It’s a 7-kilometer slog at 3,000 meters above sea level.

“It’s very hard. I’m very small so it’s hard. I have my trainer, who’s my father who gives me lessons on how to use the gear shifts, how to cycle uphill.” Karen Sofia Sanchez, Young Cyclist said.

Cycling is enjoying a boom in popularity in Colombia as the country sees its cyclists shine in international events. Recent winners include Mariana Pajon and Rigoberto Uran.

“We’re seeing a rebirth of cycling because a lot of cyclists are producing results in international events. This is the result of all the past years. Rigoberto Uran, for instance, went to Europe. It’s also thanks to my team taking young cyclists abroad and that will also produce results in the future.” Claudio Corti, Coach of Colombian Cycling Team said.

With its mountainous landscape, it’s no surprise that the country is home to many cycling talents. Lucho Herrera is one of Colombia’s cycling legends of the 1980s. The statue outside his home honors his victory in the Vuelta a Espana and his 7 participations in the Tour de France. But he says that cycling today is competing with more sports for fans and sponsorships.

“Cycling is a sport that can’t get funds from ticket sales, it doesn’t have a lot of options to subsist. So it always needs good sponsors. Football and other sports take some of that money away from them.” Lucho Herrera, Colombian Cycling Legend said.

The sport is also encouraged by government initiatives such as the Ciclovia — every Sunday Bogota’s largest streets are closed for cyclists to enjoy the city. Today, Liza Cervantes is learning to ride a bike for the first time.

“Today, I tried to do it. I fell down twice. I almost got run over and my whole body hurts.” Liza Cervantes said.

But like her country, she’ll keep on riding.