PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
During seven years racing in Europe, Ivan Parra barely won a race. Always overshadowed by older brother and Colombian cycling legend Fabio Parra, he couldn't buy a win despite coming close during stints on Kelme, ONCE and Vitalicio.
"The winner gets all the glory and second place is always forgotten," Parra said before the start of Thursday's climbing stage. "It seemed I was always the one being forgotten."
Then he came to the Giro d'Italia with a last-minute addition to join Gianni Savio's Colombia-Selle Italia team and he roared through the Dolomites to put an emphatic end to the eternal runner-up status.
"I would have said someone was drunk or crazy if they said I would win stage, then I won a second one," said Parra. "It's just amazing for me, but it's also taking advantage of the form I have and having the experience to do that."
Parra was racing on the Colombian Orbitel team after seven fruitless years in Europe. He came second yet again during the etapa reina in last year's Vuelta a Espa¤a and thought his days in Europe were finished.
"When Savio confirmed he had a place in the Giro for the team, he contacted me to see if I would be interested. I didn't come to Europe until April and raced only a few days," Parra said. "You always dream about a big victory like this, but to win twice is beyond any dream I had before."
Parra remains in close contact with older brother Fabio, who finished third in the 1988 Tour de France during the glory days of Colombian cycling in the late 1980s. The elder Parra owns a plastics business and talks nightly offering his younger brother advice.
"Colombian cycling is having some hard times," Parra said. "There's no money for teams and there are less and less races every year. There are many young riders who could do well in Europe, but there are fewer opportunities than ever." Maybe success like this will help turn the tide.