Infobox last updated on|
July 30, 2008
Santiago Botero Echeverry (born October 27, 1972 in Medellín, Colombia) is a Colombian former professional road bicycle racer. He was a pro from 1996 to 2010, during which time he raced in three editions of the Tour de France and four editions of the Vuelta a España (the Tour of Spain). He was best known for winning the mountains classification in the Tour de France, and the World Championship Time Trial.
He was, for the greater part of his career, a member of the Kelme team, but in 2003 joined T-Mobile Team (then named Team Telekom). His performances as part of the Kelme dissipated in Team Telekom, with the team management blaming his lack of discipline in training, but he claimed health problems. In October 2004 he joined Phonak, together with Miguel Ángel Martín Perdiguero from Saunier Duval, and Víctor Hugo Peña and Floyd Landis from Discovery Channel-Berry Floor. He currently lives in both Colombia and Madrid, Spain with his wife. Botero joined the American domestic team, Rock Racing, for the 2008 season. Botero finished his professional career riding for the Colombian team Indeportes Antioquia-IDEA-FLA-Lotería de Medellín. He is currently the manager of UCI Continental team Gobernación de Antioquia-Indeportes Antioquia.
He was the World Champion in the individual time trial in 2002. His career highlights include a stage win in the Vuelta a Andalucía in 1999, a stage win in the Paris–Nice in 1999, a stage win in the 2000 Tour de France, a polka dot jersey as "King of the Mountains" in the 2000 Tour de France, two stage wins in the Vuelta 2001, third place in the World Championships in the individual time trial in 2001, and two stage wins and fourth place overall in the 2002 Tour de France. Other victories include a stage win in the Clasica Bogota in 1997, a prologue win in the Vuelta a Chile in 1997, a stage win in GP Mitsubishi in 1998. After joining T-Mobile his accomplishments in the Tour diminished sharply.
On May 1, 2005 he won the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland, 33 seconds ahead of rising Italian star and favorite for the Giro d'Italia Damiano Cunego. Romandie is often used as a preparation race for the Giro d'Italia. Botero carried that form into the 2005 edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré when he won the individual time trial ahead of Americans Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong as well as winning the mountainous sixth stage which brought him into second overall in the general classification.
In 2006, Team Phonak dropped him on June 2 after he was named in media reports in the massive Operación Puerto doping probe in Spain, this just weeks before the start of the 2006 Tour de France. On October 2, 2006, Botero was cleared by the disciplinary committee of the Federación Colombiana de Ciclismo (Colombian Cycling Federation). On February 28, 2007, Botero was presented with his new team UNE Orbitel in Bogota, Colombia. He outlined that his ambitions for the year would be to win the Vuelta a Colombia, to be the Colombian national champion and a podium place in the UCI World championships individual time trial event. In August, Botero won the Vuelta a Colombia for the first time in his career. He dominated the event by winning the prologue and two stages along the way as well as wearing the leaders jersey for most of the race.