Nairo Quintana, as a chameleon, appears on Colombian reality TV

The Vuelta and Giro champion was first to be voted off / is living his best life.

by Iain Treloar

Dual Grand Tour-winner Nairo Quintana has appeared on the Colombian reality TV program ¿Quien es la Máscara? – a franchise better known to Western audiences as The Masked Singer.

Quintana, who is a dual Grand Tour champion and has finished on the podium of the Tour de France thrice, danced and sang to ‘Ritmo (Bad Boys for Life)’ by J Balvin and The Black Eyed Peas.

Readers unfamiliar with The Masked Singer may be surprised to learn that Nairo Quintana was convincingly dressed as a chameleon a pirate outfit. The show’s conceit is to conceal the identity of the celebrity singers beneath elaborate costumes, with the losing singer from each week forced to remove their mask.

If you are in the market for an illegal video rip of Nairo’s entire performance, some everyday hero in Bogotá has come through with the goods. It’s in Spanish, a language which I do not speak, but that fact did not negatively impact my sense of childlike wonder:

Quintana, who is not widely known for his dancing chops or extroversion, failed to win over judges and voting public alike and was the first celebrity evicted from the show.

The day prior to the show going to air, Quintana finished 11th at il Lombardia. He was not jetlagged to oblivion during his performance; rather, the show was pre-filmed, and then delayed for months due to a cocaine-trafficking scandal involving the husband of one of the jury members.

After being ousted from the show, Quintana said that he was “happy to be here. Very happy to be sharing the stage with all these celebrities. Happy because all the people who show me their affection (…) I have also given everything I could for my country and for my people. We continue forward.”

Quintana also alleged that, due to his costume, he “sweated more than on the bicycle.”

Quintana is not the first cyclist to dabble in reality television. Tour de France stage winner and Green Jersey victor Baden Cooke recently appeared on Australian Survivor: Brains vs Brawn, while US ex-Continental level cyclist Tyson Apostol has appeared on four seasons of US Survivor, emerging as winner of the ‘Blood vs Water’ season.

In the more artistic sphere, Danish GC-hope-turned-admitted-doper Michael Rasmussen appeared on a 2010 season of Denmark’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’, scoring 15 out of a possible 20 for his Chicken Dance. His Rabobank teammate Michael Boogerd was on the Dutch ‘Dancing on Ice’, falling in love with his partner; the dance duo now have a daughter together. And last but not least, accused domestic abuser Mario Cipollini appeared on Ballando con Le Stelle, the Italian version of that program, scoring 37 out of 50 for his oiled-up pelvic thrusts.

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