Sao Paulo – The last gold medal disputed during the Pan American Road Cycling Championships was fought for and won until the end by the Venezuelan cyclist Leangel Linarez, in a day marked by rain and low temperatures, but with a festive atmosphere rarely seen in these competitions.

Linarez won this Sunday the men’s elite long-distance race, of 199 kilometers, with a time of 4:17:48, followed by Red Walters from Granada, with 4:17:51 and the Colombian Wilmar Zapata, third with the same time. The best local rider in the race that closed the competition was Kleber Ramos (Pindamonhangaba Cycling Team), in eighth place.

The race that closed the Pan American in Sao José dos Campos took place under an intense rain that bothered the peloton from the start, as well as an unusual drop in temperature, which makes the effort made by all those who finished the route even more valuable.

The cyclists pedaled hard all the time. Throughout the race, there were some attacks and a group of four cyclists remained at the head of the peloton for a long time, but at the entrance to the city, the rest of the caravan arrived and those who best managed their strength for that moment launched themselves into the final sprint.

“The race was very hard. There was a long breakaway that started in the first half of the race and was only caught in the last kilometers. When the peloton compacted, I looked for a good position for the final sprint and I was immensely happy with the victory. I congratulate everyone involved for the excellent organization of the championship”, declared the champion Linarez.

In the medal count, 12 countries won medals, led by Colombia with four golds, two silvers and an equal number of bronzes. They were followed by Brazil with 2-1-2, the United States 2-1-0, Chile 1-1-2 and Venezuela 1-0-0. It should be noted that the Colombian delegation revalidated the title won last season in Panama, making it the eighth consecutive title won by the country in this continental competition.

The event, which gathered some 357 cyclists from 31 countries, was the last major event in the American continent before the Olympic Games in Paris, where more than 10 nations have already secured places, depending on the place in the country rankings.

The Pan American Road Cycling Championship was organized and held by the Brazilian Cycling Confederation (CBC) and the São Paulo Cycling Federation (FPCiclismo) under the direction of the Pan American Cycling Confederation (COPACI) and the support of the São José dos Campos City Hall and the São Paulo State Government, through the São Paulo State Sports Secretariat, the State Military Highway Police, Ecopistas and Artesp.