On Monday, I received the following email regarding the passing of Federico Ortiz Uribe, a pioneer in Colombian cycling. Ortiz was a talented rider who often put aside his own goals in order to help his fellow teammates. Having ridden with the likes of Cochise Rodriguez and Ramon Hoyos, Ortiz was highly regarded in Colombia' cycling community. The email I received was sent by Federico's brother-in-law, who lives in the United States.
While he may not have achieved the international fame of other pioneering cyclists, my brother-in-law, Federico Ortiz Uribe rode for years with Cochise Rodriguez, and was a Colombian national champion in his own right (along with my other brother-in-law, Juan Camilo Ortiz Uribe). He was one of the great cyclists to come from Medellin in the 1960-70s.
Yesterday, Federico was hit by a bus in Medellin while going on his bicycle to buy some tamales for his family. He passed away quietly last night without regaining consciousness.
This morning, my wife left for Medellin to go to Federico's funeral service this afternoon. In her bag, she carried Federico's Joyeria Felipe yellow jersey, to take to give Federico's daughter, Laura. This is a tragic loss for my family, but also a great loss for Colombian cycling.
Cochise Rodriguez signs in at a race, as Federico Ortiz (right) jokingly pushes his hand to get him to hurry up.
In a uniquely Colombian mix, a large Catholic university sponsored several cycling teams for the Vuelta A Colombia, one of which Ortiz was a member of. Ortiz is second from the left.
Picture of Cochise Rodriguez (right), standing next to Murillo Pardo (middle), owner of Felipe Jewelers, who sponsored some of Ortiz's cycling teams.
Colombia's largest newspaper, El Tiempo, ran this story about Ortiz in 1965 the day after his victory on stage 10 of the Vuelta A Colombia. That's him pictured on the right hand side. According to his obituary, in that year's Vuelta, Ortiz surrendered his high GC placement, in order to help his teammate Cochise Rodriguez.
1964 and 1965, Third place
Vuelta a Colombia
1964, Winner, stage 18 (Neiva to Girardot)
1965, Winner, stage 10 (Cartago to Riosucio)