Bogota, July 15 — Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos praised cyclist Nairo Quintana for coming in a respectable second place in the gruelling Mont Ventoux mountain stage of the Tour de France, behind Britain’s Christopher Froome.
“Congratulations to Nairo Quintana for the second place in the Tour de France stage, which allows him to again take the lead of the young (division),” Santos said via Twitter Sunday, reports Xinhua.
The 23-year-old Quintana, a member of the Spanish Movistar team, is in sixth place overall, trailing the leader of the Tour, Froome by five minutes and 47 seconds at the end of the 15th leg of the cycling competition.
Colombia’s Quintana is the top young cyclist of the French tour and the second-best in the mountain division, dominated by the cyclist from the Sky team.
Quintana’s mother Maria Rojas also celebrated her son’s performance Sunday, which saw him trail Froome by just 29 seconds in the longest leg (245.5 km) of the tour.
“It’s a very special day,” she told reporters covering the event. “Nairo is the pride of the family and we know he’s going to go much farther, because when he sets a goal, he always achieves it. I’m so happy.”
Quintana appeared satisfied with the outcome of the race, saying his main objective was to hold on to the white jersey that identifies the top young cyclist of the tour, which began June 29 and concludes July 21.
The race resumes Tuesday, with the 168-km Vaison-to-Gap leg.