He vibrated with the goals of Téofilo Gutiérrez, but now he is moved by his own triumphs.

He vibrated with the goals of Téofilo Gutiérrez, but now he is moved by his own triumphs.

Cristian David Ortega Fontalvo's career has not been easy. The desire to be a cyclist, to achieve triumphs and medals has led him to push himself to the maximum and even put his physical integrity in danger.

When he was a youth, the cyclist, gold in the kilometer of the Track Nations Cup in Glasgow, Scotland, rode at high speed in the Barranquilla velodrome.

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From one moment to the next he did not know what happened.He remembers that he tried to maneuver the bike, but he couldn't and it went to the ground. The doctors helped him, he was rushed in an ambulance, but he was unconscious, he lost consciousness.

Ortega woke up in the hospital and has never been able to remember what happened seconds after the accident. It was a dry blow to the head and, fortunately, it had no consequences, thanks.

The exams went well, there was no complicated trauma. It was a bad moment, he says, that gave him the strength to go on.

he got bored of soccer

Cristian Ortega was born on September 29, 2000 in Barranquilla. His mother, Johanna Fontalvo, has always been his motivation, as has his stepfather, Edwin García, and his brothers, Oscar and Edwin.

His passion was always football. A die-hard fan of Junior, he sang Teófilo Gutiérrez's goals at the top of his voice, He was moved by the plays of Giovanni Hernández and the goals of Falcao García and James Rodríguez in the Colombian National Team.

His grandmother, Rosa Lozano, sponsored him. She was the one who taught him to kick a ball. Cristian was part of the Soccer Club Academy. He trained in the Las Moras neighborhood, he was a midfielder, he played for '10', but he got bored.

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He used to vibrate with the goals of Téofilo Gutiérrez, but now he is moved by his own triumphs.

“It was a team that was not constant. Sometimes the coach didn't come to practices and my passion was low.On some occasions I went three times a week to train, another two and I stopped going. I dedicated myself more to studying,” said Ortega, who managed to win medals in the National Track Cup in Cali.

he says that he came to cycling by accident. Vanesa Fontalvo, his aunt, invited him to a night cycle route in Barraquilla. She paid him the bike rental and started pedaling.

The organizers spoke with Cristian, they insisted that he go to the velodrome and he accepted.

“That was in 2017. Ricardo Moreno received me.I trained as a hobby, because I cared more about studying. I liked him a lot, but I've always been a persevering person and I wanted to do well, that's why I kept going”, he said.

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He didn't win anything

He qualified for the youth national championship in Medellín. With the Atlantic delegation he attended that event, but it did not go well. He qualified for the 200m semi-final but came up blank in keirin and sprint.

He then went to compete in Bogotá in 2019. He achieved the silver medal in speed and from there he set out to be the best in the country in that competition.

He enrolled in the Advanced Development Project (PAD) program, which is looking for new figures. He was tested in speed and middle distance tests, but in the first ones he gave the best results and they chose him in the selection that was in Cali.

His first experience with the Senior National Team in a Nations Cup was extraordinary . It was gold in Scotland in the kilometer test, one of the most demanding in track cycling.

“I am a masochist in track cycling, road workouts. I like to suffer.”

“I'm a masochist in track cycling, road training. I like to suffer,because then you see the results. I worked hard, I wanted to know my limits and in those four laps, I had a bad start, but I counteracted it in the other laps”, he said.

Cristian says that those days he was very nervous. It was the first time against the best in the world.

“I expected a ‘top’ 5 in the km, but I won. I was surprised with that medal. I didn't believe her. When I qualified I said I could win and I did. I got it thinking about the sacrifices of the family”, he recalled.

A great help

Cristian, who only attended high school and wants to study some engineering, is grateful. His parents helped him a lot when he decided to go to Medellin. He had to be there, next to the Colombian National Team and the DT, Jhon Jaime González, who is like a father.

“They had to pay for food. I had to buy a track bike, wheels and they helped me.Then they supported me more in the Atlantic. I have to send money to my mom. We don't have much, we're not wealthy, but I must say that once I didn't have it all and now I do,” he added.

He vibrated with Teofilo Gutiérrez's goals, but now he gets excited about his own triumphs.

It cannot be forgotten that his mother and aunts had a difficult childhood. Her grandmother had to go out to work and leave her daughters in the hands of other people.

Today, she is well up the ladder. He wants to win more medals, complete a perfect Olympic cycle to go to the 2024 Paris Games.

“Being an Olympic and world champion is my goal. Giving my family a good life is another. The mark I have in the km is good, it brings me closer to lowering the minute barrier”, said Cristian, who likes to read, play chess and is preparing for this long road, which has started with success, like the one from Scotland, with only 21 years.

Lisandro Rengifo
Editor of EL TIEMPO
@lisandroabel

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