As another season gets under way, so does talk of Colombian dominance in the high mountains at the grand tours. There's an understandable beauty to valiant rides over famed mountain passes, and Colombian "escarabajos" have long been associated with them.
But long before men like Lucho Herrera (and later Soler, Quintana, Uran etc) captured the imagination of cycling fans worldwide, Giovanni Jimenez Ocampo became the first Colombian cyclist to ever turn professional in Europe. He did so against all odds, at a time when—according to Jimenez himself—few in Europe knew that bikes, let alone bike racing, existed in Colombia. His is a story of stubborn determination. At once Colombian, and fully Belgian as well.