Olano: World Champion despite a flat tyre

Thursday 12 August 2021

To date, the 1995 UCI Road World Championships in Colombia are considered to one of the toughest climbing circuits ever. It was Spanish rider Abraham Olano who was victorious in Duitama. He was also the first Spanish world champion in the men’s road race. However, it was not all smooth sailing to victory.

The circuit in Duitama was particularly tough. In the local round, the riders had to climb El Cogollo, to an altitude of 2,850 m. This climb would take its toll on many of the riders. Ultimately, only 20 of the 93 participants crossed the finish line. The Spaniard Olano made a very good impression at the head of the race. He broke away from the pack with an elite group, including the Italian Pantani, the Swiss riders Richard and Gianetti and his compatriot Indurain.

Olano was able to build up a lead of about forty seconds over the four and seemed well on his way to victory. Until he had a flat tyre just before the finish line. But the Spaniard soldiered on and his victory was no longer in question. Indurain won the sprint for the second place, much to the delight of Spanish fans.

In addition to being the first ever Spanish world champion, Olano was - and is - the first (and only) rider to this date to win the rainbow jersey with a flat tyre.