Daniel Díaz from Madrid and Pablo Leno from Cáceres are other cadet riders for the year 2022 who in 2023 will face the change of category within the U19 structure promoted by the Contador Foundation. In both cases the bicycle is a domestic issue, confirming that this sport continues to have a large component of family heritage in its expansion and development.
Daniel Díaz (14 September 2006) lives in the town of Villarejo de Salvanés and his first sporting experiences at federated level came through futsal. “I liked it a lot, to be honest, I defended myself well”, he recalls. One day he began to share outings on mountain bikes with the gang, experiences that were as fun as they were rewarding, and this is where the family tradition emerged. From the fat wheels to the thin ones on routes where the boy was able to defend himself without any problems on the tricky routes in the surroundings of the Las Vegas region.
In Daniel’s family, road cycling was a recurring hobby. His father, Diego, and his uncles and aunts are regulars on the skinny side of the road. And all of them have been able to enjoy and discover this sport thanks to an illustrious family member, now deceased: Mariano Díaz. A professional cyclist in the 1960s, during his career he won important stage victories in the Tour de France, the Vueta a España and the Tour of Switzerland. In Villarejo de Salvanés a memorial race for the lower categories, cycling academies, cadets and U19, remembers him every year.
“Mariano was my father’s uncle and in the family both my father and my uncles have also ended up competing. José Luis was a professional in teams like BH, Seguros Amaya or Puertas Mavisa and my uncle Javier stood out in the amateur field with two victories in the Vuelta a Madrid. I got to know him and heard many stories of his career. I was especially impressed by how after having been working in the fields, mowing or harvesting, he would take his bike and cycle from the village to the north to compete”, recalls a Díaz with climbing skills who polishes his neighbouring roads.
At Pablo Leno’s house (12 January 2006) the bicycle also had its share of protagonism. His father, Pablo, also enjoyed his competitive experiences and even shared races with the late Manuel Sanroma, uncle of one of Pablo’s new teammates in the youth EOLO-KOMETA. “My father competed, he even competed with the Iberdrola team, but ended up quitting because of work”.
The young Pablo, however, started swimming before cycling: “I didn’t really like it, it bored me a bit, it didn’t appeal to me and I ended up quitting. As my father was still cycling, I started to go out with him on the mountain bike. Eventually I joined Cáceres Bike, where I stayed until I moved up to cadets with HyD Pinturas-Carbajosa Empresarial de Salamanca. In Cáceres I mostly did mountain biking, until I was a second year junior or so I didn’t have a road bike”.
Leno has been one of the names of the year with his performances and his bronze medal at the Spanish Championships. “To do mountain passes we either go to the area of Aldeanueva del Camino, where we have family, or we go down to the Sierra de Montánchez. But I prefer the shorter climbs, like the steep climb in Sierra de Fuentes, which we call the Piccola, with 300 metres with ramps of 15% and 20%, and which is very close to my usual training area, in the direction of Trujillo”.