The U19 structure of the Alberto Contador Foundation is completed with three riders, a debutant in the category and two others with a first year of experience, who bring together a great talent and a very promising future.
The Cantabrian Mario Gómez is a rider promoted from the cadet category while Alvar Martín from Burgos, brother of the Movistar Team professional rider Sara Martín, and the Colombian Samuel Flórez, have an important experience in the category during 2022.
A great lover of sport, practising several disciplines in previous years and especially football, Cantabrian Mario Gómez (2006) began to focus on cycling in the pre-cadet category. “My arrival in cycling was a bit of a coincidence. At home, what has been most important, traditionally speaking, has been football. I love football. I have played for many years. One day, a neighbour who was a member of the Peña Ciclista Sprint told me that I had to ride with them one day. Half jokingly, half seriously, the truth is that one day I ended up going out on the road. And I was fascinated by the experience”, he recalls.
It was the beginning of a life cycle in which football and cycling coexisted. “In the end I had it a bit more focused on the time of the year: in winter, more football. When the end of spring and summer came, more cycling. And that’s how I stayed until about three years ago, when I focused more on cycling,” he explains. Ball, bike… and paddles too: for a while Mario even competed in table tennis. “For a couple of years I played football and table tennis at the same time. But my parents told me that it was too much… I couldn’t put a filter on it, I love sport, but it’s true that there’s not enough time for everything”, he jokes.
Mario Gómez considers himself a climber. Or at least he enjoys the road looking up at the sky: “Somehow it’s as if you disconnect from your day-to-day life while you focus more on what you have around you and you can enjoy it in a different way. I really like that feeling”. The Cantabrian is currently studying the first year of his baccalaureate in science. “I have to see what I will do in the future, whether it will be a degree or a higher degree, although what I do know for sure is that it will be something related to the world of IT”, he concludes.
A great lover of sport since his earliest childhood, Alvar Martín (2005) was fascinated by the more competitive side of physical activity. He started out in athletics, although with the appearance of some physical problems (“I had a growth spurt very early on and those things are always noticeable in terms of muscles”) his evolution led him to Duathlon and, catapulted from this combined modality, he finally ended up in road cycling. “Duathlon was good for me, but I didn’t see as much of a future in it as I did in cycling.
At home, cycling was by no means an unknown tool, especially given the great family hobby and the sporting activities of both his father and his older sister, today’s Movistar Team rider Sara Martín. “From watching my sister compete and experiencing first-hand the atmosphere of the races I ended up getting the bug to try it, I’m very competitive and I also wanted to experience it first hand,” she says. Martín took on his first competitions on his own in the school cycling category as a first year child, joining the Club Ciclista Arandino the following season. And in this structure he has been growing, progressing and maturing.
Looking ahead to 2022, he is heading for his second year in the youth category with a change of team. “They have been very nice years in Recambios Callejo. Looking ahead to next year my idea is to be able to grow in a slightly larger structure and go deeper and see how this sport works in a new and higher category such as the U23. The idea is to get to know the future, although I’m also very lucky because I have good references at home”, he smiles. As a rider, Martín defines himself as a complete cyclist. “I’m not a pure climber, in the longer climbs I try to hold on and resist. In small groups I have a lot of speed. In the Vuelta a Valladolid, for example, I finished second behind Portugal’s Antonio Morgado in the first stage. But I’m not a climber”.
Samuel Flórez (2005) is the first Colombian rider to compete in the youth structure of the Contador Foundation since its creation. Flórez is a second year rider of whom Óscar Sevilla, a professional from La Mancha who has been living in the South American country for several years, speaks highly of. Flórez has already had the opportunity to show his quality on Spanish roads with a first experience in 2022 with Rias Baixas.
“I came to cycling when I was very young, as my father was very fond of the sport, and I even competed in some master’s races, but mainly as an amateur and in rallies”, he says. Flórez, although a native of Bogotá, lives with his family in Medellín and his residence is at kilometre 9, some 2,000 metres above sea level, on a sixteen-kilometre climb that is very famous in international cycling: the Alto de las Palmas. “Whenever I go out on my bike, it’s always upwards,” he jokes.
Flórez recalls: “When I was 9 years old I got my first road bike and I remember that I rode 60 kilometres. From there I started to get a taste for it and when we moved to Medellín, 5 years ago, a coach Juan David Vargas approached my father in a competition and that’s when I started to train to compete”.