The first edition of Gran Fondo Andrey Amador, the largest amateur cycling event in the history of Costa Rica, took place Sunday 13 February in warm conditions from the city of Jacó with over 4500 participants, including Tour de France Champions Alberto Contador and Oscar Piero.

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Other cycling superstars attending included Joaquim Rodríguez and Dani Moreno, but 2020 Olympic gold medalist Richard Carapaz pulled out at the last minute.  “Due to a change in my calendar my presence in this event will be impossible.  I hope to be there on future occasions, with my friend (Andrey)”, Carapaz announced.

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In the men’s race sprinter Pablo Mudarra finished the race in 3:13:52 to claim the winner’s trophy, outsprinting Rodolfo Villalobos and Johan Carball, both with a time of 3:13:53. The winner in the women’s race was Adriana Rojas, followed by Milagro Mena and Kristel Espinoza.

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Riding in his namesake event, wearing the red-black Ineos-Grenadiers team kit, Amador used the 160 kilometre ride with fans and friends to complete his winter training before heading to Europe for the start of the racing season.  Amador has not raced in his home country in over 15 years and was thrilled to participate in the amateur gran fondo race. “For me it is a dream, my last race here was around 2006.  It has always been a dream to be here”, he said.

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Andrey Amador is the first Costa Rican and Central American cyclist to win a stage in a Grand Tour.  As a high-mountain specialist he climbed to victory atop Cervinia on Stage 14 of the 2012 Giro d’Italia and finished the three-week long race in fourth place overall.

PHOTOS: GFAA, Tenorio