Páez, a 37-year-old who rides for the Team Giant-Liv Polimedical team that’s based in Italy, finished third at the 2018 MTB Marathon World Championship, and this year was able to score the gold medal for the best result of his career.
“It was really technical, so I started to prepare for this race at the beginning of the season,” said Páez, who earned the win on his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 bike.
The Colombian had to overcome tough competition and a grueling course with more than 13,000 feet of climbing. There were several attacks in the opening 20km and the final lead group had been decided by the 64km mark on a steep climb at Törbel. The top-10 riders at that point were separated by less than 10 seconds.
With 10km to go, it was down to three: Páez; Alexey Medvedev, a former road pro from Russia; and Czech rider Kristian Hynek. The Russian was dropped with 6km to go, and Páez then put the pressure on Hynek on a steep climb.
The two battled over the final kilometers, and the Colombian held on to win with a time of 4:17:58, 26 seconds ahead of Hynek. Italian Samuele Porro rounded out the podium in third.
“It’s very hard to describe how I feel because it’s a long time I’ve been trying to win this jersey,” Páez said. “Now I am the World Champion. Thank you, everybody!”