Bogota: Colombian star cyclist Nairo Quintana called Tuesday for unity and continued support for the national football team after it was defeated by Japan 2-1 in the South American country's debut at the 2018 World Cup.
"As a people, we have always showed that, united, we can face any circumstances," Quintana said in a Twitter post accompanied by a photograph of him wearing a national team jersey.
In May, Quintana, the winner of Italy's Giro in 2014 and a second-place finisher at the 2013 and 2015 Tour de France, asked Colombians to divide their sports fervor to support him and the soccer team in Russia.
"I cannot give much encouragement to the (football) team because I'll be making a big effort," the cyclist said. "And you all will have to divide your support so I am not left alone."
Quintana is preparing to compete in his fourth Tour de France July 7-29.