Cycling: Sierra in Cuba, Vingegaard-Pogacar duel in the world

Cycling: Sierra in Cuba, Vingegaard-Pogacar duel in the world
Fecha de publicación: 
1 January 2024
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For yet another year, Arlenis Sierra is the most outstanding cyclist in Cuba and one of our best athletes hired abroad without distinction of sex or sport discipline.

This woman, born in Manzanillo, says farewell to the year with the silver medal earned in the individual time trial race at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, and two gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador (road and time trial races), along with outstanding performances in the elite of her sport as a member of the Spanish club Movistar, team she has been representing since 2022.

Her medals were the only ones achieved by Cuban cycling this year, below expected, perhaps, but one that is caused by the downturn we are currently experiencing in the track events, where we have enjoyed good sporting results in recent times, especially among women.

At 31 years old, this woman from Granma is still an elite athlete. So there is no surprise when the prestigious Spanish club decided to extend her contract until 2026.

Her best professional performances this season were two runner-ups in the Tour de Suisse, held in June, and fourth place in both the Alfredo Binda Trophy (Italy) and the Clásica de Almería (Spain).

As usual, her goal for the big events is to play a secondary role within the club, and that is why she cannot dream of a podium, something similar to what she faces in World Championships because she competes alone.

Some injuries also prevented her from participating in more competitions and that made her drop in the world ranking, from 25th place last year to 38th.

With skills as both a great sprinter and a rouleur, the Cuban adapts well to the mid mountains and she has extraordinary ability within the pack and enormous class on the bicycle, where she is nicknamed La Pantera.

Now officially on the list of cyclists qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Sierra has a season ahead of her in which she will aim to consolidate herself among the elite of world women's cycling and improve on her 28th place in Rio de Janeiro 2016. She ended 34th in Tokyo.


Danish Jonas Vingegaard won the Tour de France ahead of the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, but the latter was the actual winner of the season after leading four major events (Classics), in just another great season.

With the Nordic's victory, both are even with two titles in the most prestigious races in the world of cycling. Thus, the duel is already set for 2024.

Vingegaard, 27, won the second consecutive award in the Grande Boucle and also finished with a second place in La Vuelta a España, where he gave way to his American teammate Sepp Kuus.

Meanwhile, Pogacar, 25, got 17 wins, including two of the races considered Monuments (Tour of Flanders and Giro de Lombardia), in addition to the Flecha Wallona and Amstel Classics, a second place in France and the bronze medal in the World Cup.

In turn, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic also won the Giro d'Italia, the Tirreno-Adriatico, the Volta a Catalunya, the Vuelta a Burgos and the Giro dell'Emilia, and ended third overall in La Vuelta a España. By 2024, the 34-year-old cyclist will debut with the BORA-hansgrohe club, after eight years at Jumbo-Visma, and this, in some way, opens up a mystery depending on the teammates he can garner around him.

In addition to these three, undoubtedly the most relevant figures in the world, Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel, world champion and winner of the Milan San Remo and Paris Roubaix Classics, stood out in 2023.

Van der Poel, 28, won the title in the queen event of the World Championship in Glasgow, and is one of the most complete riders in history, as he stands out in other modalities such as mountain and cyclocross.

Remco Evenepoel, former road world champion and La Vuelta winner, did not meet the expectations. Nonetheless, he still won his second Liège-Bastogne-Liège. After winning two stages in the Giro d'Italia, he retired on the tenth round dressed in the pink maillot, but ultimately he failed.

The Belgian can do much better and we possibly see it in 2024, where great battles are looming, including the Olympic Games. Some of these names will surely return to Paris (or stay) to seek glory under the five rings.

For next year, the Tour will conclude on July 21st, and the competitions for the summer event begin on July 27th.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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