Jairo Rincon Perez: "The hero of Vuelta al Tachira is Nicolas Reidtler."

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01.01.2008/ In only five days the first major South-American stage race will kick off: The 43rd edition of the Vuelta Al Tachira 2008. Cyclingheroes will cover the race with daily reports, results and a riders diary by Kuota-Senges rider Malaya van Ruytenbeek. Van Ruytenbeek will start at the Vuelta Al Tachira with a Dutch National Team. An Interview with Secretary General of the Tachira Cycling Federation and coordinator of the Vuelta Al Tachira, Jairo Rincon Perez about the upcoming 43rd edition and the history of the race.

Cyclingheroes: The first edition of the Vuelta Al Tachira was in 1966. Can you tell us something about the history of the race?
Jairo Rincon Perez: The Vuelta al Tachira started in 1966 during the Fair of San Sebastian who is the Saint of San Cristobal. This is a city in the Venezuelan Andes close to Colombia. During those days the Vuelta a Colombia was very popular and that was the impulse to start the Vuelta Al Tachira. During the first Vuelta al Tachira most of the riders were colombians and some Venezuelans, Spaniards and Italians. Later on,  around  the early 70-s the Russians were the maximum attraction. At our web Page [] , you will find all champions of the Vuelta.

Cyclingheroes: Great races produce heroes, who are the heroes in the history of the Vuelta Al Tachira?
Jairo Rincon Perez: The hero of Vuelta al Tachira is Nicolas Reidtler. He is a Venezuelan rider who was 5 times second in the race. He was very good but had no luck at all.

Cyclingheroes:  Did the route of the Vuelta Al Tachria changed a lot in the past 42 years?
Jairo Rincon Perez: Every year the Vuelta al Tachira has different routes. The Vuelta always starts in a city at the west side of Venezuela outside the state of Tachira, the last 7 stages are in the state of Tachira and are almost the same every year. This year the Vuelta starts in the plain city of Guasdualito. The first 4 stages are as flat as a table, good for the Dutch riders.

Cyclingheroes:  Is South American cycling very different from European cycling?
Jairo Rincon Perez: South American cycling is very different from European cycling. Once the initial flag is shown the riders race very fast. In europe the first kilometers are done in a soft ride. 

Cyclingheroes: What are the decisive stages of the 2008 Vuelta Al Tachira?
Jairo Rincon Perez: The decisive stages of the upcoming Vuelta are : stage 5, 6 and 8. Maybe the individual time trial at stage  11, will determine the final winner.

Cyclingheroes: Hernan Buenahora was the winner of the 2007 edition of the race. Who do you think are the main favourites for the 2008 edition and can you introduce them to our readers ?
Jairo Rincon Perez: Buenahora will not compete this Vuelta, he is 43 years old and is tired. I think that the 2006 winner, Medina " the Cat", is very good now, he may do very well. Also the Colombian rider Colorado,he was second and won 2 stages at the Vuelta a Costa Rica that just finished. Ronald Gonzales, Venezuelan, is in great shape, he is a young rider that competes for the Loteria del Tachira Team, which is the oldest ciclyng team in the world.
I do not know how strong the Argentinians, Cubans and Dutch will be, they may be a good surprise. We are waiting to learn more from the staff of Costa Rica, Guatemala and Ecuador so that I have no opinion about them.

Cyclingheroes: In Europe a lot of races are dissapearing. Sponsors are walking away because of ongoing doping scandals. Does cycling in South America have similar problems?
Jairo Rincon Perez: Cycling in Venezuela is having the same problem. We at the Vuelta are having a very strict doping control as we always have had. We take blood samples of all riders at the beginning of the race and 15 at every stage. We also take urine samples of  9 riders at every stage. This will all be done to avoid any scandal.

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