Last season young Colombian rider Sergio Henao had his dream come true. He comes from a poor country but he trained hard and put his climbing talents to work for his Goberacion Antioquia team.
In the mountainous Tour of Utah, he sacred the hell out of Levi Leipheimer. He won stage five and finished second to the American who until that race had never heard of the kid. By the end of the season Henao hit the jackpot: A fat contract to ride for the big budget, major resources Sky Cycling team.
That is not only a dream come true but enough money to take care of his family members back in Colombia. The young man has done good and has plenty of reasons to feel proud. It’s like winning a million dollar lottery — that’s crazy money down in Colombia.
We’re likely to hear more good stories about Henao as he builds a career at Sky. Today in stage four of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, he got everybody’s attention. On the final step ramp of the category 1 Alto de Ibardin climb, he went hard with 500 meters to go. Pocket rocket Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) shot by him to win by 12 seconds but Henao proved he can be a force in the mountains for Sky.
We saw Henao race at last years’ inaugural US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and had the chance to talk with Gobernacion DS Santiago Botero about Henao’s prospects at Sky. Botero had confidence in the young rider and thought the only hitch would be a certain lack of disciple at the dinner table. An issue he was sure that Sky would correct.
“Henao is extremely disciplined. Normally if he must do 100 kilometers, he does 120,” Botero told me. “He never thinks about his food. In Sky, the team doctor will find his ideal weight.”
After today’s ride in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, his weight must be down and the diet well under control. Give him another two years at Sky and he’ll be listening to the Jam with Bradley Wiggins and pacing the Brit up the Pyrenees.