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15th La Ruta de los Conquistadores - NE
Costa Rica, November 14-17, 2007
Stage 1 - November 14: Jaco Beach - El Rodeo, 95km
Costa Ricans Take Charge at La Ruta
By Rob Jones in El Rodeo
After two years of watching foreigners walk away with wins at La Ruta - Costa Rica's most important race - the 'Ticos' took control on the first stage of the 2007 race today. Federico 'Lico' Ramirez (BCR-Pizza Hut-Powerade-KHS), the only 3-time men's winner of La Ruta, took control of the race in the section through Carara National Park to win the 95 kilometre stage by nearly seven and a half minutes over countryman (and another former La Ruta winner) Paolo Montoya (Macosta Lee Cougan Santa Ana BCT). Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss Bianchi), the French pre-race favourite, struggled back from an early race puncture and late race cramps to take third. World Cup pro Sue Haywood (Trek-VW) took over the lead in the women's race on the first climb and never looked back, rolling in over 16 minutes ahead of former champion Louis Kobin (Sho Air/Rock and Road).
Ramirez was happy to become the first leader of the 2007 race but was quick to point out that the race is far from over. "It was an important win for me, my sponsors and my country," agreed Ramirez "but the race is not over, and I have a lot of respect for my competitors. I hope that I will be able to continue to lead La Ruta, but I haven't won yet. Guys like Thomas are strong guys, so we will have to wait until the final stage."
"Seven minutes is not a big gap, tomorrow will be the most important stage of the race." asserts Ramirez. "Tomorrow's strategy will be controlling attacks of my rivals for the first part and then making attacks myself in the later part of the stage." Stage two is 75.2 kilometres with 3624 metres of vertical climbing. Locals who have ridden the stage say that the climbs are extremely steep.
Women's leader, Haywood, struggled up the last climb but had enough of a lead to hold on for the win. "The last 10 K for me were the toughest," she said. "There was a bit of a climb, and it just went on... The first climb went really well for me, but then we got into all the mud, and a couple of times the tires stopped turning - I hate that."
How it unfolded
The opening stage is traditionally the most difficult of La Ruta, with over 4400 metres of vertical climbing (14,500 feet), plus a trek through slippery and sticky mud, and multiple river crossings. The organizers did 'take it easy' on competitors by making the final climb on pavement, rather than last year's extremely steep gravel climb, and it showed, with Ramirez' winning time over 45 minutes faster than Leonardo Paez in 2006.
The field poured out of Jaco in the pre-dawn light, heading east away from the Pacific, to finish in four days and 360 kilometres, on the Gulf side of the country. Within two kilometres the race had left paved roads for first long dirt climb of over 10 kilometres, and the leaders were pulling away. Montoya was particularly strong on this climb, surging off the front of the lead group containing Ramirez, Sandro Spaeth (Ride Magazine - Texner BMC), Deiber Esquivel (IBP Pensiones), Enrique Artavia (Super Pro Banco BCT Santa Ana) and Max Plaxton (Rocky Mountain-Haywood). Just dangling off the back of this group was Tinker Juarez (Cannondale).
Missing from the group was Dietsch, who had suffered a flat earlier on the climb. The World Number 1 ranked Marathon rider was steadily working his way back into contention, and was only two minutes down as the riders headed into the national park.
"It was a very bad to time to get a flat," Dietsch agreed "but I didn't have to dismount my tire because I had a sealant in inside which was able to fix it. But I lost some time, and had ride my own pace."
The Park proved to be the key section to Ramirez' win, as he was able to ride away from the others, who struggled in the mud. Exiting the park he had over a minute on Montoya, with Dietsch and Plaxton together a further five minutes down. The gaps got steadily bigger as riders succumbed to the heat, the humidity and the relentless climbing.
"Lico was definitely able to ride the Carara better than the rest of us; we were slipping around and he could keep going." explained Montoya. "I was riding the first climb very well, and felt very strong, but the park was a big problem for me."
Dietsch dropped Plaxton on the final paved climb, after the Canadian had to answer a call of nature and then took a short rest break, and bridged up to Montoya, before leg cramps with 10 kilometres to go forced him to pull off to the side of the course. The French rider hung on for third, but was almost caught by Switzerland's Spaeth in the final kilometres as he struggled to finish.
"I had to stop for maybe 10 minutes with the cramps; it is the first time this year that I have had this problem - maybe it is a lack of training," commented Dietsch. "I think that without the cramps I would have been second."
The French rider also waxed poetic about the section through Carara national park: "The walking part was so beautiful, incredible. I know you were supposed to be racing, but I wanted to look around. Going through the race forest, past all the rivers, I saw this big, big, blue butterfly ... it was a fantastic experience."
Plaxton was expected to be one of the favourites for the race, but faltered on the final main climb. "I didn't pace myself too well. My heart rate was pretty high for the first two hours - in the 180s - I was feeling good ... but then I had to have a bathroom stop. Tinker passed me pretty much standing still, so I pulled off ... and after that I had a little siesta ... and regrouped myself. If I can pick up a stage win that would be great; I'm not so much in it for the overall."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Images by Luis A. Rueda Fonseca
Open men 1 Federico Ramirez Mendez (CRc) BCR-PIZZA HUT-POWERADE-KHS 5.12.36 2 Paolo Montoya Cantillo (CRc) Macosta Lee Cougan Santa Ana BCT 7.26 3 Thomas Dietsch (Fra) Gewiss Bianchi 13.44 4 Sandro Spaeth (Swi) Ride Magazine - Texner BMC 15.36 5 Deiber Esquivel Benavides (CRc) IBP Pensiones 27.28 6 Enrique Artavia Cedeira (CRc) Super Pro Banco BCT Santa Ana 29.21 7 David 'Tinker' Juarez (USA) Cannondale 30.25 8 Thomas Zahnd (Swi) Team Stoeckli-Craft 34.02 9 Juan Alberto Solis Rodas (CRc) BCR-PIZZA HUT-POWERADE-KHS 36.24 10 Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona 38.59 11 Jason Sager (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 40.37 12 Gonzalo Bonilla Pereira (CRc) Ciclo Paraíso 42.30 13 Manuel Prado (CRc) Sho Air / La Ruta 45.29 14 Eddy Pérez Mata (CRc) Ulicori Bticino 45.42 15 Kanga Akerson Rom (USA) Rock Shox - Sram 50.16 16 Stream Akerson (USA) Heart Transverter 50.17 17 Cory Wallace (Can) Team Jasper 56.16 18 Bart Gillespie (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 57.47 19 Jon Nutbrown (Can) Ridley's/Giant 1.05.32 20 Brandon Dwigth (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport 1.06.14 21 Chucky Gibson (USA) Tahitian Noni International 1.08.52 22 Carlos Daniel Fernandez Vegas (Ven) Pan de Azucar Bike Team, edo.miranda venezuela 1.11.53 23 Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain / Haywood Securities 1.12.11 24 Alfredo Acosta Gonzalez (CRc) Fiesta Total 1.12.12 25 Andreas Hestler (Can) Rocky Mountain / Haywood Securities 1.34.18 26 Javier Lerma (Mex) Global Niches 1.37.21 27 Miguel Montoya Chinchilla (CRc) Avimil 1.38.27 28 Marco Antonio Pohlond Madrigal (CRc) Scotiabank / DHL / Sweaters 1.42.58 29 Timmy Dougherty (USA) BearNaked / Cannondale 1.45.13 30 Luis Villanea Viquez (CRc) Scotiabank / DHL / Rock Shox-Sram 1.45.36 31 Jason Asay (USA) Tahitian Noni International 1.46.33 32 Werner Van Der Merwe (RSA) 1.46.46 33 Brian Cimmiyotti (USA) Scott's cycle and sport/sigma management 1.51.56 34 Alex Ramirez Salas (CRc) Complejo Wilmer Lopez/Ciclo Guilly Brumoso 1.56.16 35 Joel Grimmett (USA) Lonestar Racing Club 2.02.22 36 Erik Bakke (USA) Deadgoat Racing 2.11.41 37 Carlos Eduardo Jiménez Méndez (CRc) FADASA S.A 2.15.21 38 Jhony Madrigal Zumbado (CRc) Xerox 2.16.42 39 Christian Lesko Madriz (CRc) 2.17.04 40 Arnoldo Loaiza Duran (CRc) Team Isostar 2.18.18 41 Juan Diego Jimenez Sequeira (CRc) Fiesta Total 2.24.22 42 Harry Precourt (USA) North Atlantic Velo / Classbook.com 2.25.31 43 Orion Akerson (USA) Heart Transverter 2.27.48 44 Marvin Solano Gomez (CRc) Techos y Estruct. de CR-Ciclo Brenes Paraiso 2.32.14 45 Jose Santos Miranda Blandon (Nic) Cisa Seguridad - San Alberto 2.33.31 46 Olman Abarca Miranda (CRc) 2.41.03 47 Fabricio Loaiza Granados (CRc) Hospira Holdings / Costa Rica 2.55.39 48 Jason First (USA) Crank Brothers 3.01.34 49 Douglas Jenne (USA) Vicious Cycles / BareKnuckleBrigade / Twin Six 3.11.25 50 Jake Pantone (USA) Biker's Edge / Destination Homes 3.16.10 51 Jonny Hintze (USA) Biker's Edge / Destination Homes 52 Emilio Brenes Jiménez (CRc) 3.17.14 53 Cesar Alcazar Mendez (CRc) 3.17.22 54 Peter Butt (Aus) 3.17.26 55 Gabriel Byrne (USA) Kovarus/Squadra Ovest 3.20.05 56 Andrés Fernández Salazar (CRc) 3.22.21 57 Bill Apeldoorn (Ned) Autobedrijf Dirk v/d Steen, kroone Liefting 3.22.53 58 Salvador Borrego-Crum (USA) Hunter Cycles/Championships Unlimited 3.23.28 59 Frederick Dreier (USA) VeloNews 3.24.56 60 Brian Guillermo Arias Chaves (CRc) 3.25.42 61 Federico Hazera Fernández (CRc) CIRCUITO 3.26.11 62 Rufus Pichler (Ger) Kissena Cycling Club 3.30.31 63 Hamish Bingley (GBr) Ben Hayward Cycles, Cambridge, UK 3.32.05 64 Oscar Marín Jimenez (CRc) 3.32.41 65 William Sullivan (USA) Cowbell Challenge 3.38.01 66 Rolando Flores Mercado (Mex) Burger King Mazatlan 3.39.07 67 René Quesada Morales (CRc) Asocaci Bikes and Friends Cartago 3.41.32 68 Michael Gabor (USA) 3.46.25 69 Pedro Bento (Por) Ribabike 3.49.45 70 Christopher Lang Arce (CRc) Ulicori - Cycling Solutions - Specialized 3.51.57 71 David Bragulat Vila (Spa) Btt Llagostera - Medina 3.58.37 72 Charles St Jeor (USA) ALG Worldwide 4.05.18 73 Victor Manuel García Montoro (Spa) Bidones Roma S.A 4.05.39 74 Forest Akerson (USA) Heart Transverter 4.07.37 75 Gerard Joliat (Swi) Bogy's 4.08.25 76 Gabriel Carbajal (USA) Dos Compas Racing 4.12.52 77 John Cordoba (USA) Masterman/rnr 4.13.37 78 Luis Carlos Araya Aguilar (CRc) Ciclo Paraíso 4.16.55 Masters A 1 William Valverde Barquero (CRc) Vedova Y Obando / Husquarna 6.13.35 2 Benjamin Thompson (USA) www.bendelitemtb.com 4.33 3 Jose Angel Beltran Bernal (Mex) Turbo 12.13 4 Warren Ellis (Can) NRG / EAGLE HOMES 15.32 5 Edgar Zumbado Madrigal (CRc) Bike Station - Gary Fisher 16.39 6 Werner Eichler Contreras (CRc) Ulicori Bticino 19.50 7 Scott Henry (USA) Trek / VW 27.37 8 Roberto García Lachner (CRc) Rock Shox - Sram 30.05 9 Matt Gordon (USA) Orbea 30.15 10 Melvin Rojas Alfaro (CRc) Ciclo Guilly 31.00 11 Peter Paelinck (Bel) www.reevax.be 31.16 12 Manfred Avila Kopper (CRc) TiTus / Vitalissimo 34.21 13 Marcelo Silva Guistiniani (CRc) magnarealtycostarica.com 34.50 14 Thomas Spanning (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 45.04 15 William Vargas Ramirez (CRc) SCOTT 46.36 16 Marco Moreno Hernández (CRc) Ciclo Deportes M.Moreno - Marzocchi 49.15 17 Cacho Rodríguez Alvarado (CRc) Hotel Cortez Azul 59.43 18 Randall Aguilar Quesada (CRc) Acipa Paraiso 1.00.30 19 Jairo Garita Hernández (CRc) Wabe S.A 1.00.37 20 Stuart Spies (RSA) Madengine Racing 1.01.42 21 Perry Thomas (USA) Cycle South 1.03.19 22 Jose Morales Zuger (Gua) Xerox / Donde Jose / Trefrateli 1.03.53 23 Ohran Ohranran Matt (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 1.03.58 24 Rafael Alberto Marrero Molina (CRc) Team Isostar 25 Michel Bujold (Can) Lessard Cycle 1.08.05 26 Andy Sanidas (USA) Igleheart Custom Frames / Western Cycle 1.09.06 27 Randal Solano Quiros (CRc) Rios Tropicales-Disexport-Mawamba 1.12.15 28 Luis Diego Chaverri Madden (CRc) 1.14.31 29 Eelco Docter (Ned) Macclesfield Wheelers 1.15.28 30 Roy Soto Arguedas (CRc) 1.15.41 31 Ron Ellis (Can) Eagle Homes 1.16.19 32 Juan Carlos Marín Valenciano (CRc) 1.18.28 33 José Arguedas Morera (CRc) Rios Tropicales - Disexport - Mawamba 1.19.48 34 Rich Dillen (USA) Team Dicky 1.21.49 35 Ismael Peraza Chavarria (CRc) Muscle 1.21.59 36 Kip Mikler (USA) Bike Magazine 1.22.09 37 Taro Smith (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport 1.23.20 38 Jeffrey Cote (Can) TwinSix 1.28.36 39 Christopher Cook (USA) 1.28.52 40 Vik Chaudhuri (GBr) 1.35.38 41 Philippe Bukovec (Fra) Team Isostar 1.37.23 42 Charlie Eustace (GBr) Ellsworth / Freeborn.co.uk / Torq 1.38.41 43 Kevin Perry (USA) 2.03.06 44 José Ramón Castañeda Gallegos (CRc) 2.10.27 45 Aramis Chinchilla Luna (CRc) Grupo Colono 2.12.26 46 José Rojas Alvarado (CRc) 2.13.00 47 Marco Chinchilla Vaglio (CRc) Mani La Guaria 2.13.29 48 Sam Dowling (GBr) Fanylion Racing 2.15.28 49 Scott Slingerland (USA) 2.15.36 50 Victor lonso Araya Pereira (CRc) Xerox 2.15.50 51 Peter Dunham (Can) Tristone Capital 2.16.01 52 Chris Peters (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 53 Thomas Sandí Campos (CRc) 2.18.57 54 Manuel Hurtado Jose (Gua) Xerox / Donde Jose / Trefrateli 2.19.56 55 Warner Smith (USA) 2.22.08 56 Emile Bruneau (USA) Two Muddy Ruckers 2.24.37 57 Jason Boynton (USA) 2.27.11 58 Chris Sohayda (USA) 2.27.43 59 Omar Gerardo Jara Rodríguez (CRc) P.Guisa Hotel Arenal Rivera Ciclo Movi 2.29.11 60 Alejandro Nietzen (CRc) Caribbean Bikers 2.30.20 61 Flemming Lund (Den) Team Inmobia Extreme 2.30.45 62 Mattheww Kemp (GBr) Ride Beyond - MS Trust 2.31.05 63 Roger Mercaldi (USA) Seaside Cycle 2.32.37 64 Luis Rubi Quant (CRc) Auto Lavado Pinares 2.32.58 65 Alexander Torres Solano (CRc) Cafetalera Aquiares 2.33.06 66 Antonio Beltran Marco (Mex) Gary Fisher Coxflor 2.34.41 67 Francisco Jiménez Fuentes (CRc) 2.35.04 68 Carlos Quiros Llobet (CRc) Xerox 2.36.55 69 Harry K. McIntosh (USA) David's World Cycle 2.38.00 70 Peter D'Aquanni (USA) 2.39.01 71 José Herrera Herrera (CRc) Hospira Holdings / Costa Rica 2.42.09 72 Marvin Elizondo Solano (CRc) Gimnasio Todd 2.43.59 73 Raul Rojas (CRc) DCMTB-City Bikes-Metro Gutter 2.45.53 74 Tom Hipsz (Can) Mattamy Homes / Aquila Racing 2.47.25 75 Billy Mollina (USA) Team Inmobia Extreme 2.53.00 76 Mike Cushionbury (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 2.53.22 77 Milton Fallas Barboza (CRc) Xerox 2.58.43 78 Ewdin Arce Hernández (CRc) Ciclo Mobi Heredia 3.01.57 79 Troy Luphco (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 3.02.23 80 Shawn Luphco (USA) MonaVie/Cannondale 81 Matt Bradley (USA) Staats Bicycles 3.06.20 82 Hernando Castro (Ven) Chimanta-Venoco 3.08.12 83 Carlos Barreto Herrera (Ven) Chimanta-Venoco 3.09.11 84 Alejandro Wong Campos (CRc) 3.10.22 85 Martínez Castro (CRc) ESCO 3.10.43 86 Javier Clares Lázaro (Spa) A.C. El Prat 3.10.55 87 Adam Baker (USA) 3.12.10 88 Aguilar Luis De Ezpeleta (CRc) Aval / Litespeed 3.15.09 89 Federico Soto Castro (CRc) 3.15.17 90 Fabio Roberto Villalobos Benavides (CRc) 3.15.22 91 Chad Wilson (USA) Reno Wheelmen 3.18.11 Masters B 1 Doug Andrews (USA) gpsUPLOAD.com / Geoladders.com 6.30.16 2 Mike Charuk (Can) Team Whistler 12.56 3 Stewart Stafford (USA) Austin Flyers/BSS 16.54 4 Andrew Yates (USA) Beef and Pie 21.33 5 Jorge Castillo (CRc) Santa Cruz Manitou 42.53 6 Fernando Salazar Chavarría (CRc) Nitidos 43.01 7 Cary Smith (USA) 48.31 8 Sergio Correa (USA) 58.53 9 Piccolo Gularte Casteñada (Gua) Xerox / Donde Jose / Trefrateli 1.00.03 10 David Boyd (USA) Team Bike Lane 1.11.59 11 John W. Miller (USA) 1.55.54 12 Craig Vandelist (USA) 1.57.19 13 Daniel McCarthy (USA) 1.59.11 14 Michael Thiele (USA) Thieles Automotive 2.02.03 15 Todd Henne (USA) Yell Country Veterinary Service 2.02.41 16 Modesto Jimenez Vargas (CRc) 2.06.09 17 Todd Moyer (USA) 2.06.39 18 John Myers (USA) Myers Mechanical 2.06.50 19 Mauricio Alvarado Rivera (CRc) Powerade 2.07.47 20 Berthold Schwarz (Ger) Quick & Dirty 2.09.03 21 Bruce Wilson (USA) Team Cycopath 2.11.05 22 Omar Jimenez (CRc) Grupo Nación 2.11.15 23 Robert Myint (USA) BikeFactory 2.12.06 24 Andrew Caputo (USA) Central Wheel 2.13.55 25 Tim Wilkie (USA) Riverbrook Bike & Ski 2.14.17 26 Trever Bushnell (USA) Construction Zone 2.16.58 27 Luis Alberto Araya Fonseca (CRc) 2.17.32 28 John Finetto (USA) 2.17.50 29 Tom Ebbern (Can) Tristone Capital 2.22.57 30 James Wilson (Can) BC BIKE RACE 2.25.39 31 Paul Millar (Can) Mattamy Homes / Aquila Racing 2.28.06 32 Thomas Tetz (Ger) Leki BikeXtreme 2.29.25 33 Sean Wood (USA) 2.36.10 34 Rodolfo Carranza Ulloa (CRc) 2.36.58 35 Matt Luhn (USA) Gopher Gulch Dirt Alert 2.37.47 36 Daniel P. Thauvette (Can) Corazon-CBRS 2.40.40 37 Oliver Carbonell (USA) Inwood Velo 2.42.11 38 Mark Cadle (GBr) 2.42.57 39 Enrique De Alba De Alba (Mex) Bike Style 2.43.41 40 Andrew Rollin (USA) Cupertino Bike Shop 2.44.55 41 Roman Cabello Verdugo (Mex) 2.45.25 42 John Wong (Can) Team Whistler 2.47.49 43 Thomas Greene (USA) BlessoConsulting.com 2.50.25 44 Raymond Woodruff (USA) 2.52.20 45 Lance E Torre (USA) MARCLOTHING.COM 2.53.42 46 Edward Toole (USA) Nantucket Numbnuts 2.54.47 47 Jeffrey Heide (USA) 2.59.04 48 Dave Cormier (USA) 3.01.22 Veterans 1 Tony Routley (Can) Team Whistler 6.31.12 2 Sandy Mitchell (Can) Gerick Cycle Nelson 18.12 3 Dennis Mizerski (Can) Mattamy Homes / Aquila Racing 1.57.46 4 Andrew Burton (GBr) 1.58.18 5 Rodolfo Reichert (Gua) Xerox / Donde Jose / Trefrateli 2.02.21 6 Clemente Hernández Muñoz (Spa) Freebike 2.04.00 7 Ricardo Vela Del Valle (Spa) Club Ciclista Santa Eulalia 2.10.28 8 Ricardo Mata Brenes (CRc) Comite Cantonal Deportes y Recreción Paraiso 2.20.18 9 Cliff Richmond (USA) Team Solar Eclipse 2.52.56 10 Jack Funk (Can) Deadgoat Racing/ Bow Cycle 2.54.15 11 Gonzalo Mena Rojas (CRc) 3.03.03 Women 1 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek / VW 6.54.26 2 Louise Kobin (USA) Sho Air/Rock and Road 16.05 3 Maria Alejandra Carvajal Brenes (CRc) BCR-PIZZA HUT-POWERADE-KHS 38.26 4 Trish Grajczyk (Can) Deadgoat Racing 1.37.07 5 Rebeca Hidalgo Vargas (CRc) Powerade 1.39.10 6 Angela Parra Sierra (Col) SAFETY, Hammer Nutrition, BSS 1.42.24 7 Ana Lucia Arias Fernández (CRc) Ulicori Bticino 1.50.51 8 Elizabeth Ward (RSA) 1.55.25 9 Carey Lowery (USA) Team outdoor store 1.59.36 10 Tamara Goeppel (Can) Leki BikeXtreme 2.05.15 11 Caroline Pinard (Can) Corazon-CBRS 2.16.29 12 Jennifer Sica (USA) Schampa Racing 2.18.51 13 Rebeca Marín Solano (CRc) Rios Tropicales - Disexport - Mawamba 2.21.20 14 Cintia Coto Elizondo (CRc) Powerade 2.22.20 15 Fanny Paquette (Can) MountainBiking Magazine / Rocky Mountain 2.28.13 16 Maria Gabriela Rivera Guevara (CRc) ACACI 2.37.54