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14th La Ruta de los Conquistadores - NE
Costa Rica, November 3-5, 2006
Race 2 - November 4: San Jose to Turrialba, 66.7 km
Paez progresses as rivals tumble
Hector Leonardo Paez (Full Dynamix) solidified his lead in La Ruta de los Conquistadores on day two with another victory, However, his victory was at the expense of his main rival Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW), who crashed heavily five kilometers from the finishing, breaking at least two teeth and a bone in his nose, according to organisers. Bishop finished the stage in second, but was immediately taken to a local hospital and then transferred to San Jose, bringing an end to his race.
The second stage, while shorter and not nearly as gruelling as the first one, still had plenty to challenge the riders, with 2654m (8787 feet) of climbing, to the highest overall point of the race at just over 3000m (9932 feet). Most of the climb was on gravel and pavement, as was the first portion of the descent, however, the final 15 kilometers was a rocky, rutted track, with the middle third particularly treacherous.
According to Paez, "I was being careful, he was going faster. Descending is not really my best skill, so I am always more careful. When I passed him (Bishop), he was surrounded by people ... I looked at him and started going even slower." (Paez grimaced at the memory)
The two leaders from day one - Paez and Bishop - followed the wheel of Federico Ramirez (BCR-Pizza Hut), who set a strong pace from the start of the stage. "It was just the three of us away five kilometers from the start. It was always Ramirez [Paez thought it was Ramirez' team mate Andrei Amador]. Ramirez was attacking at the top part of the climb, but we stayed together until the descent, when Ramirez had to stop and change his [front] wheel."
Ramirez had continuing problems on the descent and was caught by Amador, but managed to hang on for fourth, ahead of Marizo Deho (Olympia). To add to the difficulty, fog rolled onto the mountain about three-quarters of the way up the climb, turning to cold rain at the top, which thoroughly chilled exhausted riders.
- Lots of riders had problems with flats on the descent, with defending champion Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) double flatting for the second consecutive year. Last year, flats cost Frischknecht his lead on the second day, this year he entered the descent in seventh place and fell to 13th by the finish. "I was supposed to get a pump at the top, but missed it. Then I flatted and fixed it with my cartridge, but I flatted again and had to ride in 8 kilometres on a flat. This descent is not good for me."
-Jon Nutbrown (Ridley's-Devinci) had even worse luck, with a total of five flats. "I was looking forward to this descent - I had talked to Roddi (Lega, who moved from 30th to 8th on the descent last year), and I was definitely hoping to move up."
- Former UCI President Hein Verbruggen made an appearance at the start line. "I am here to visit three countries in the region and work to promote cycling. We are very impressed with the improvement in racing in this region, and hope to see some riders soon at the UCI Cycling Centre in Aigle (Switzerland) before too long."
- Adam Craig (Giant USA), fourth yesterday, was another rider who had difficulties today. "The free bike services was worth exactly what it cost...my bike was shifting fine when I left it with them last night, but this morning when I tried shifting into my granny it went into the spokes, so I had to stop a couple of times to pull the chain out and gradually adjust it like it should be. Then I chased too much and blew - I was riding like a 14 year old on a cruiser riding to the grocery store...with the brakes rubbing."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Elite Men 1 Hector Paez (Colombia) Full Dynamix 3.25.47 2 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek-VW 4.09 3 Andrei Amador (Costa Rica) BCR-Pizza Hut 6.48 4 Federico Ramirez (Costa Rica) BCR-Pizza Hut 11.36 5 Marzio Deho (Italy) Olympia 12.56 6 Deiver Esquivel (Costa Rica) IBP 17.48 7 Tinker Juarez (USA) Cannondale 21.05 8 Eddy Perez (Costa Rica) Dos Pinos 29.53 9 Jose Andres Vega Solano (Costa Rica) IBP 30.12 10 Jonathan Carballo Ramirez (Costa Rica) IBP 31.39 11 Marvin Campos (Costa Rica) IBP 39.20 12 Paolo Montoya (Costa Rica) Super Pro 39.21 13 Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland) Swisspower-Scott 44.37 15 Andreas Hestler (Canada) Rocky Mountain-Business Objects 45.00 20 Adam Craig (USA) Giant USA 54.13 45 Tom Ritchey (USA) Ritchey Design 1.26.55 Elite Women 1 Marg Fedyna (Can) bungalowboys.com 4.58.53 2 Louise Kobin (USA) XFusion 9.19 3 Hilary Harrison (USA) Kenda Tires-Giant 10.54 GC - Elite Men 1 Paez 9.26.12 2 Bishop 18.57 3 Amador 28.18 4 Ramirez 38.05 5 Juarez 53.59 6 Campos 1.12.54 7 Esquivel 1.14.29 8 Craig 1.19.15 9 Deho 1.19.27 10 Perez 1.20.01 12 Frischknecht 1.44.24 19 Hestler 2.43.27 GC - Elite Women 1 Fedyna 13.13.41 2 Kobin 45.53 3 Harrison 1.06.00