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Preview of Vuelta favourites: Introducing Santiago Botero
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 9/4/2002
Preview of Vuelta favourites: Introducing Santiago Botero

By Jakob Duma

29-year-old Colombian powerhouse Santiago Botero from Kelme-Costa Blanca will start the 2002 edition of the Vuelta a España as a serious contender for the final podium in Madrid. Not built as a typically fragile Colombian climber, he stands out with his sparkling blue eyes and his enormous physical strength. Strong as an ox, Botero has redeveloped his characteristics a bit. Although he still is a very solid climber, he has proved himself to be a world class performer against the clock, beating none other than Lance Armstrong twice in a time trial this year; once in Dauphine Libere and once in the time trials between Lanester-Lorient in this year's Tour De France. Santiago Botero has gained enormous popularity in his homeland, and together with Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya he is the most admired athlete in Colombia at the moment. After his strong performance in the Tour De France and due to Kelme´s financial problems, Santiago Botero has been connected to several other top teams including (Team Telekom) but for the time being still belongs to Kelme.

After disappointing a bit in the mountains in last year's Vuelta a España, Santiago Botero will be looking for a high placing in the overall classification, and will go hunting for stage wins in the mountains where the Colombian’s famous attacking riding style can prove to be a good advantage for him. And who knows, maybe Botero will be determined to try and repeat last year's success in winning both the long time trials in the race.

In His Favour: 95 kilometres against the clock split into long individual time trials will suit the Colombian perfectly. Botero is a physical phenomenon and entering the hard 3rd week of racing he may prove to be the strongest of the main contenders.

Against His Favour: Inconsistency is Santiago Botero's middle name, and he tends to have a least one bad day the in the mountains where he breaks down an loses minutes; the Colombian needs to be mentally focused throughout the race if he wants to be in contention for the overall standings in Madrid. 

1 Classique des Alpes
1 Dauphine Libere Stage 3
1 Tour de France Stage 9
1 Tour de France Stage 15
4 Tour de France GC
5 Clásica Internacional de Alcobendas GC
38 Dauphine Libere GC

1 Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
1 Vuelta Stage 7
1 Vuelta Stage 21
3 World Championship Time Trail
8 Tour de France GC
9 Classique des Alpes
18 Vuelta Espagna GC

1 Tour de France Stage 14
7 Tour de France GC

1 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 2
1 Parijs - Nice Stage 5
2 Vuelta a Andalucia GC
3 Paris - Nice GC
4 Setmana Catalana GC
5 Volta a la Communitat Valenciana GC

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