Darwin Atapuma: “It is the best day of my cycling career”

Darwin Atapuma (BMC) put in an incredible ride on stage 4 of the Vuelta a Espana to cross the line in second place and take the leader’s red jersey.

Atapuma had the legs to hold off the General Classification contenders’ group and power to second place, to now lead the General Classification by 29 seconds going into stage 5.

“It is the best day of my cycling career to now have the red jersey at the Vuelta a Espana”, said the Colombian rider after the stage. “This morning I was thinking to go in the breakaway and it was also the plan from the sports directors. There were a lot of breakaway attempts in the first 50km of racing but the peloton wasn’t letting them get away. I had to look at what the right composition for the breakaway, and I managed to jump in the right one that the peloton allowed to go clear. We had a good advantage in the end with a strong group of 21 riders.”

“I was feeling really confident in the breakaway because my shape after the Tour of Utah is really good. I was also feeling confident because of the uphill finish and when I looked around at the others in the breakaway I could see that they were suffering a lot more than me. I felt good so I knew that I could try something on the last climb.

“We arrived at the last climb with a three-minute advantage and it was then that I could start dreaming about taking the red jersey, as it was a realistic possibility. In the last 5km I knew the GC group was riding really fast so I didn’t know if I could get the jersey, so then I attacked to try and win the stage. In the end I was second on the stage but I took the red jersey which is a dream.”

“I think I can keep the jersey after tomorrow because it’s not a super hard stage, but to even wear the red jersey for one stage is incredible. I’ll take things day by day and continue to work to support the team’s ambitions.”