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Quintana to work with UNICEF to help Colombian children

Quintana to work with UNICEF to help Colombian children

Posted by Juan Gavasa on October 16, 2014

Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) announced Wednesday that he will work with UNICEF to aid children. “For me, it’s a pleasure. It gives me pride to have been accepted by UNICEF. I can bring a lot to the children of Colombia,” Quintana said at press conference.

The 24-year-old climbing specialist is a veritable idol in his home country, where cycling is one of the most popular sports, after soccer.

Quintana, who finished 2014 ranked sixth in the WorldTour, despite abandoning the Vuelta a España after a crash, specifically mentioned that juvenile delinquency and violence are a problem in Columbia. The country has been plagued by a half-century of armed conflict — the longest of any in Latin America.

“One idea is to have discussions in the troubled localities to help change the mindset of the young people,” said Quintana, who is from the city of Tunja in Colombia.

At his side, the UNICEF representative in Colombia, Roberto Bernardi, explained the choice of the cyclist he described as a “positive role model for young people.” The best individual for the role is “a recognizable and well-known leader in his or her field. Nairo is a good fit, “said Bernardi.

At the press conference, the Colombian champion also announced he would ride the Vuelta next year alongside Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde, who was third at the 2014 edition of the race.

“We will both do the Vuelta,” said Quintana, who underwent a successful operation last September on a broken right shoulder blade, caused by a fall that forced him to retire from the Vuelta.

Quintana is also expected to target the Tour de France, after a breakthrough second-place performance in 2013.

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