The professional cyclist who participated in this year’s Vuelta España (finishing 64th) explained how she managed her focus and race amid the challenging task of coping with the recent murder of her brother, just days before the Games.
This morning in Isla de Maipo, the women’s individual time trial in road cycling took place, and Chile’s cyclist Aranza Villalon completed the third-best time in 26:07.28 on a 20.14-kilometer circuit, earning her the bronze medal. She finished behind the first-place rider, Kristen Faulkner from United States, and the second-place rider, Cuba’s Arnelis Sierra.
Despite facing 16 competitors and significant challenges with the track conditions, Aranza Villalon, who won bronze at the South American Games in Asuncion 2022 and silver at the Pan American Road Championships in Panama, had to overcome the race while channeling her grief with the intention of winning this medal in honor of her brother, who tragically passed away just a few days ago.
“Being at home is an advantage, but today would have been different because a few days ago I lost my brother at the hands of a hitman, and it’s truly painful. It’s a shame to have competed like this, but I also know that the work I’ve been doing for many years had to be reflected today,” she expressed emotionally, thanking Chile’s Olympic Committee for providing her with a bicycle for this event and her coach (and partner) Daniel Bretti for his support during these difficult times.
The focus was a powerful tool for Villalon, as she had to miss her brother’s wake and funeral to prepare for the Pan American Games 2023.
“I needed to concentrate; I really couldn’t be present because I needed the level of focus required to face this significant challenge. I know he would understand, and he did understand,” she said calmly, clarifying that her coach, Daniel Bretti, has been essential in her sports career and personal life.
“The death of her brother was very tragic. The way to approach it was to tell her that with this, she could have a great opportunity to voice things and let this impunity be known far and wide. He understood and asked the family to understand as well,” commented Bretti.
The athlete also wanted to convey an important message to the various authorities to ensure that such an incident does not happen to anyone else.
“My brother was killed by a hitman. I urge the authorities, the President, and all those responsible for addressing crime to recognize that this is no longer an isolated incident. Every day, there are deaths over trivial matters. Our country has been deeply affected by what has been happening,” she expressed.
Source : Panam Sports