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13th La Ruta de los Conquistadores - NE
Costa Rica, November 11-13, 2005
Stage 2 - November 12: San Jose to Turrialba, 77.9 Km. (50 miles)
Campos takes stage as Frischknecht hits the rocks
Triple flat costs marathon world champ lead
By Rob Jones in Costa Rica
Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) began day two of La Ruta de los Conquistadores up over six minutes on second and third place, but by the end of the stage he was down by seven - that's La Ruta. After suffering 3 flats in the final run to the finish, Frischknecht finished fifth on stage two, while the stage winner, Marvin Campos of the powerful host Costa Rican squad IBP (an investment bank) avoided punctures and took both the stage win and the leader's jersey.
The stage profile was simple - climb for about 45 kilometres, up to 3010 metres, and then descend for 34 kilometres. Starting from the outskirts of San Jose, the course turned upwards almost immediately. Once clear of the city, riders turned onto progressively narrower, and muddier, trails. By the 10 kilometre mark a lead group had sorted itself out, containing Frischknecht, Campos, Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW), last year's La Ruta champion Paolo Cesar Montoya (Santa Ana), Eddy Perez (Bike Station) and Deiber Esquivel (IBP). 10 more kilometers into the race and the route went to pavement for the rest of the climb.
Esquivel attacked, and got a one minute plus gap on Frischknecht, who was playing it cautious with the altitude. Over the top of the climb and into the descent, it all began to go bad for the Marathon World Champion.
"I flatted three times on the descent. It was really disgusting - big rocks, basically we were riding down a river bed for 30 kilometres. I was told before 'no more than 5 kilometres of gravel, and then pavement'. No way!
"With the one guy in front, I was confident I could hold onto the lead. But after two flats I was out of inner tubes and cartridges, I had to wait for a long time to get a pump, and after that be very careful the rest of the way down.
"I was hoping after yesterday I could control the race, but I had those problems. It is hard to be at the front, to attack if you don't know what to expect. I am learning about La Ruta that it is maybe impossible to win your first time. It's so far out there, you don't know what to expect."
Frischknecht wasn't the only rider to flat, merely the most unlucky. Esquivel also flatted, as did Bishop (whose spare was flat also). The one rider who did not flat was Campos, who crested the climb behind Esquivel and Frischknecht. "I had some mechanical problems with my rear derailleur, but I was lucky and did not flat. The team support for me today was really strong, especially on the climb."
The result leaves Frischknecht 7:49 behind with one stage remaining - the longest at 126.4 kilometres. However, the last half of the race is basically flat as the race runs down to the Caribbean, so Campos' team should be able to control things.
"Seven minutes is a lot to get back, and they have six guys, so I don't think there is a lot of possibility." admitted Frischknecht.
- The leader in the women's category is Louise Kobin of San Jose, California, going for her third straight victory.
- There are a few participants who deserve special mention: Dax Jaikel lost his right leg in a car accident (above the knee) last year he finished 113th overall. This year, a bolt broke on his prosthetic on the first stage and he could not finish, however, he started the second stage. His cycling prosthetic is of particular interest - a very slick carbon fibre and titanium unit.
Heart Akerson in the Vet category is riding is 8th La Ruta. He always rides in just shorts (not cycling shorts, cut-off jeans), to better "receive the emanations from Sol."
There is one tandem in the race this year, with a blind stoker. They are finishing mid-pack.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Open Men 1 Marvin Campos (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones 4.01.22 2 Eddy Perras (CRc) Bike Station 0.49 3 Paolo Cesar Montoya (CRc) Santa Ana/ Banco Cuscatlan 1.01 4 Deiber Esquivel (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones 8.28 5 Thomas Frischknecht (Swi) Swisspower/ Scout Team 14.15 ... 8 Roddi Lega (Can) Norco Factory Team/ Ride Guide TV 41.27 11 Walker Ferguson (USA) Scott/ Giro Team 25.32 12 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Volkswagen/ Trek Team 27.20 General classification after stage 2 1 Marvin Campos (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones 2 Thomas Frischknecht (Swi) Swisspower/ Scout Team 3 Deiber Esquivel (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones 4 Paolo Cesar Montoya (CRc) Santa Ana/ Banco Cuscatlan