Local hero Juanfer Vélez won the second round of the 2023 Red Bull Cerro Abajo series, held for the first time in Medellín, Colombia on Saturday to claim the overall lead.
Urban downhill legend Tomáš Slavík won the annual Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo race on February 12 around Chile’s steeply streeted port city to open the series with Vélez second and Brazil’s Lucas Borba in third.
Medellín is the second-largest city in Colombia – after Bogotá – located in the Aburrá Valley, a central region of the Andes Mountains in South America, so a picturesque setting for the thrilling race.
The course for the second race of the series featured tight turns at the top along roofs, a long sweeping section in the middle then a bumpy flight down the main staircase heading into the fan-packed finish.
Conditions favoured the riders as huge crowds cheered one of the local riders Vélez as he triumphed in an electric performance down the course, edging out compatriot Sebastian Holguín by 1.927 seconds.
Borba held his nerve through the streets to clinch third 2.519 seconds behind with fellow Brazilian Gabriel Giovannini fourth and Chilean Pedro Ferreira rounding out a South American top-five result.
Czech Slavík crossed the line in 1:29.023 to sit behind Ferreira in sixth, however it was Vélez who got the series edge over his rivals with a nerveless display last man down the Comuna 13 course.
Vélez said: “I don’t know where I found the gap on the track. I went as fast as I could and gave everything. This gives me a lot of confidence for Mexico and I am stoked.”
Vélez now leapfrogs rival Slavík to claim the overall lead of the ultimate urban downhill race series by 42 points leading into the third and final round in Guanajuato, Mexico on Saturday March 25.
2023 Red Bull Medellín Cerro Abajo result
1. Juanfer Vélez COL 1:25.039
2. Sebastian Holguín COL +1.927
3. Lucas Borba BRA +2.519
4. Gabriel Giovannini BRA +3.037
5. Pedro Ferreira CHI +3.866
2023 Red Bull Cerro Abajo series standings
1. Juanfer Vélez COL 119 points
2. Tomáš Slavík CZE 77
3. Lucas Borba BRA 70
Watch the Red Bull Medellín Cerro Abajo replay HERE.
Header image: Felipe Rodriguez performs during Red Bull Cerro Abajo, at Comuna 13, in Medellin, Colombia on March 4, 2023. Credit: Mathew Valbuena / Red Bull Content Pool