The entire Colombian cycling community is mourning the death of Juan Jose Ortega, considered “the future” of Colombian cycling. The 17 year-old amateur died just three kilometers from the finish of the Clásica Nacional Ciudad de Anapoim race near Bogata on Wednesday 19 April.

“We are dismayed, he was only 17 years old. What happened is very sad. I was devastated when I found out,” his grieving coach Edwin Donado told EL TIEMPO.

According to Donado, the teenager fell ill and collapsed at the end of the second road stage. He was immediately treated for a cardiac event by race medics and transported to hospital emergency room. Despite doctors best efforts, Ortega could not be resuscitated and he was pronounced dead.

The Colombian Cycling Federation issued the following statement: “Juan José leaves us a deep void, and we will always remember him for his desire to become a great champion. In the name of cycling, our deepest greeting of condolences and the message of solidarity for his parents José and Diana, his other relatives, friends, Professor Hernando Rojas, his teammates, and the Cycling League of Bogotá, in this difficult moment.”

Ortega was an excellent climber, enabling him to win the district road championship in 2021, while also placing on the Colombian National Championship podium. Thoroughly dedicated to see how far he could advance within the sport, Ortega planned to race in Europe next year.

Due to the tragic death of Ortega, the remaining Clásica Nacional Ciudad de Anapoim stages were cancelled.

Photo Credit: Ciclismo En Línea

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