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Sebastian Molano gains confidence winning at home

2019 was Sebastian Molano’s first season on the WorldTour, with UAE Team Emirates, after racing with the now-defunct Manzana Postobon pro continental team, in Colombia.

Sebastian Molano sprinted to his second consecutive win at the Tour of Colombia Thursday, passing through his home town of Paípa, Boyacá in front of his family and friends. The victory comes one year after a complicated season that started much the same way in Colombia. But months later, Molano would be pulled out of the Giro d’Italia by his team, suspended due to “unusual physiological results.” The details of which to this day have not been released. He returned later in the season, racing the Vuelta a España and other races, but without success.

“We had done some tests and had to suspend his racing, in agreement with the UCI. We then did further testing and spoke with the UCI, so that everything was clear and perfect for Molano, for his health so that he could continue competing and working towards a good campaign,” Team Director, Jose Fernandez told VeloNews about the decision last season.

2019 was Molano’s first season on the WorldTour with UAE Team Emirates after racing with the now defunct Manzana Postobon Pro Continental team in Colombia. His 2020 campaign began in Argentina working for Gaviria, where he helped him earn three stage victories at the Vuelta San Juan. Thanks to his efforts, the team awarded him the lead in the sprints for Colombia, along with the help of sprinting veteran, Maximiliano Richeze.

“Personally, this win is very important, to win this stage and to win at the Tour of Colombia this year. Last year was a complicated year as you all know,” Molano said at the finish in Duitama. “To win after so long, since last year, has a joy that you can’t imagine. I hope to continue down this path.”

Colombia's Juan Sebastian Molano sprinted to the win in the 2020 tour Colombia stage 2
Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Molano sprinted to the win in the 2020 tour Colombia stage 2. Photo: Maximiliano Blanco/Getty Images

The team brought a string of climbers to the race this year, considering the high altitude and decisive climbs set for the course. Molano had their full support for the sprint stages, with Fabio Aru, Sergio Henao, and Andres Ardila sacrificing efforts to ensure he arrived well for the finish.

“I think that helped me a lot, to have the help from riders with that much experience to deliver me for the finish. That gives me a lot of motivation,” Molano said of his teammates. “They did a spectacular job which I appreciate very much. And I hope in the mountains to come, that I am able to give what I can just like they did for me.”

Molano discovered his love for cycling along with his two younger brothers, Julian and Diego, through their father, an amateur racer in Boyacá. He would take the boys to the regional races with him when they were young, instilling in them a passion for the sport. They began racing mountain bikes before transitioning to the road. Julian and Sebastian trained many hours together in preparation for the year. Julian is also racing the Tour of Colombia for the first time, with the Colombian National Team.

Following his second win, at the finish in Sogamoso on stage 3, Molano was speechless.

“I knew my family was at the finish and expecting me to do well. It was a hard finish, but I had strong legs and so that was the important thing,” he said. “I needed to win, to return to having that confidence, which is complicated, the confidence to win I believe is 50 percent that is needed for a rider.”

UAE have planned a variety of races for Molano this season, to give him further opportunities in leading the sprint. The main objective for the first half of the season will be a return to the Giro d’Italia, to hopefully erase the memories of last season.

“It’s very important for me to arrive to Europe with good form and a lot of confidence with the mentality to win,” Molano said. “The most important thing is that I am able to give the team victories so that they continue to have confidence in me.”