Natalia Franco Villegas

“Who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”  - Friedrich Nietzsche

Nickname: Naty

D.O.B.: 08/14/1995

Birth city and state: Medellin, Colombia

Current City: Knoxville, TN.

Height: 5”1

Specialty: climbing/descending

Previous sports: Volleyball

Years racing: 9

Colleges attended: Colorado Mesa University/ University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Degree: Sport Psychology

Personal Website link

Instagram link @nataliafrancov

Facebook link

Twitter link @nataliafrancovs

I have been racing for 9 years on the road, track, and mountain bike at the national and international level. I went to the U.S. to race for Colorado Mesa University on a cycling scholarship, but have raced for different teams throughout those years. I am a noble rider that not only can work with a team, but also is able to take chances when an opportunity is presented. I am a strong climber and excel in hilly or mountainous terrain including descending. Tough, since I raced many criteriums the last five years, I can place well due to my positioning and bike handling skills.

I consider myself a happy person. I am the youngest of three sisters. I love animals, spending time with family and friends, and being outdoors. I really enjoy cooking, dancing, playing the guitar, and singing.

Career Highlights

 • 4th U23 Vuelta a Costa Rica UCI

 • 6th U23 Vuelta al Salvador UCI

 • 5th Tour Femenino Colombia

 • 1st Grand Fondo L’Etape Colombia

 • 1st Boulder-Roubaix


 • 3rd Grand Fondo Tour Colombia

 • 2nd Johsnon City Omnium

 • Young rider classification at USA Crits

 • 2nd Grand Fondo Hincapie Boise

 • 1st Salt Lake City Automotive Circuit


 • 3rd points race at USAC track Collegiate Nationals

 • 5th Road race USAC Collegiate Nationals

 • 2nd overall at 505 Cycling Classic, Albuquerque, NM.

 • 5TH Denver University City Park Criterium

 • 2nd USAFA road race, Colorado Springs.

What inspired you to become a bike racer?

My dad, he took my whole family riding on the weekends. Then, I got invited to race for a local team and since I am very competitive I could not resist to try it.

Do you have a job outside of bike racing, if so where and what does this entail? 

At CMU I used to work at the intramural sports as a referee and scorekeeper for different sports.

Who is an inspiration to you in your life, both on and off the bike?

 Egan Bernal

Favorite meal when training?


The best thing about being a bike racer is?

Getting to see so many different places, meeting new people and making friends, and learning about different cultures.

What is your biggest accomplishment on the bike?

The Grand Fondo L’Etape Colombia

Favorite place you’ve raced your bike and why?

Moab because the views make you feel out of this world.

Favorite cross training or off-season activity?


Best tip for a new bike racer?

Enjoy the process.

What are one or two things that you do daily that are the key to your success?

Work on my mental skills

If you weren’t bike racing what would you be?

Playing volleyball or singing.

If you could spend 10 days anywhere, where would it be?


Tell us something about yourself that people may not know

I like to scare people.

Favorite things to do off the bike:

1. Being outdoors

2. Spend time with family/friends

3. Reading

4. Playing the guitar

5. Cooking

Top 5 warmup/pre-race songs on your iPod:

1. Con calma

2. Fighter

3. X, J Balvin

4. Mi gente

5. Party in the USA 

Favorite things to eat.

1. Empanadas

2. Ice cream

3. nuts

4. Fruits

5. Arepas

SRAM Felt Bicycles ZIPP Quarq Athlos Kenda Tire