The challenge was tough this year, but the 29-year-old rose to the occasion, winning his ninth national championship and earning the right to wear the Colombian colors for another year.
Racing on a fast, technical course, Gutierrez pushed his Glory Advanced race bike to the limit, holding off his challengers to take the win.
“Winning the national championship had a bigger meaning for me this year,” said Gutierrez, who wore the Giant Shuttle DH shoe to earn the win. “Just looking at things from a different perspective made this result special, and different from the ones before. The level of competition could not have been any higher. It’s without a doubt the toughest it’s ever been. The top-three Colombians call this their home track, as it’s in their backyard.”
Gutierrez called the track, located in the steep mountains of the coffee-producing region of Caldas, “one of the sickest we’ve ever had here.”
“It was wider, more technical, faster, with so many lines to choose and a lot of trying to survive around the trees,” he said. “Winning this one was probably one of the most important days of my life. So much came together. So many feelings, thoughts, joy and blessings.”
With his ninth national title in hand, Gutierrez now heads back to Europe to contest the second half of the UCI World Cup series. The next round is scheduled July 6-7 in Andorra.