Posted by Editoress on 11/14/05
Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) has ended a 12 year Costa Rican winning streak at La Ruta de los Conquistadores, becoming the first foreign rider to win the three day event. The Marathon World Champion bounced back from a disasterous second stage, when three flats on the final descent caused him to lose 15 minutes to Costa Rican Marvin Campos (IBP), and drop to second in the standings - more then seven minutes back.
The final stage, at 126 kilometres, is the longest, but also has the least climbing - 1785 metres. However, the riders already have nearly 7400 metres of climbing in their legs from the previous two days, so exhaustion is setting in. The final stage heads north out of Turrialba for 60 kilometres before heading east towards the Caribbean, with the final half of the race at sea level. Normally, the riders spend much of the race on gravel roads, but a bridge for one of the many river crossing was out, necessitating a switch to 40 kilometres of pavement.
This proved to be a boon to Frischknecht, who worked with Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW) and defending champion Paolo Montoya (Santa Ana) isolate Campos from his team and then ride away from him on the pavement.
"I knew that I had to get Marvin (Campos) away from his team, so I attacked on the first climb." explained Frischknecht. "I had two minutes by the top of the first climb, but I flatted on the descent. They (Montoya, Bishop and Campos) went by me and I had to chase back on the second climb."
Montoya attacked Campos and Bishop before Frischknecht rejoined, but the Swiss went straight throught the other two to chase him down on the final climb. On the last descent, as the lead duo hit pavement, they eased up, hearing that Bishop had dropped Campos and was less than a minute behind.
"It would be better for the three of us to work together, so I told Paolo to wait." said Frischknecht. "After Bishop joined us I told them that I didn't care about the stage win, I just wanted to get time."
The three set up a paceline, with Frischknecht doing the majority of the work, yelling at Bishop not to work too hard on more than one occasion.
"I just figured I could help Thomas." explained Bishop. "I was pretty cooked, and knew that I didn't have any chance left (at the podium) so I just buried myself."
Campos began the pavement section two minutes down on the leaders accompanied only by one rider, but the gap began to grow immediately - 5:49 after 5 kilometres, and 15 minutes by the time the riders exited pavement for the final 15 kilometres along a railway bed.
"The problem is we did not know how far back Marvin was." said Frischknecht. "When we heard two (minutes) it was already three and a half, at six I thought we were not gaining much time, but is was actually over ten."
"Then we hit the final railway bed, which was pretty bumpy and hard to ride. I was told that it was short and we finish on pavement, but it wasn't true!"
Bishop, the only rider on full suspension, opened a slight gap on the other two initially, but ran out of gas, losing 11 minutes in the final 10 kilometres, but hanging on for third. Montoya and Frischkecht rolled in together, with Montoya taking the stage.
Campos had been caught by a chase group of ten, including Roddi Lega (Norco) and Walker Ferguson (Scott). The group disintegrated on the rail line, with Lega managing to nip Campos for fourth. Campos managed to hold onto second in the overall standings, just ahead of Montoya.
- Is La Ruta the toughest mountain bike race in the world? According the Jeremiah Bishop it is: "for me this is the hardest race in the world. The mud, the climbing, the distance." Thomas Frischknecht is less convinced: "How do you compare it? Is it as hard as the Olympics? As hard as a world championship with all the top riders on the line? For sure it is hard, it is very special, and if the top riders were here it would definitely be the hardest."
- The organization was not displeased to have a gringo win. "It will help our race immensely for Thomas to come here and win." commented media director Luis Rueda Fonseca. "The rest of the world will now see how important and special La Ruta is."
- American Louise Kobin took her third straight women's title, while Frischknecht's wife Cybil finished in the top ten, in her first race. "She told me that if we came, she wasn't going to follow behind me in a car, so I said ' you better start training!' "
- Roddi Lega kept getting stronger and stronger through the race. "I had a flat and ran out of water on the third climb. It was so hot out there today I felt like I was burning up. But the other riders were descending much slower, so I was able to catch them. I'd like to come back here really fit and see how I could do."
1. Paolo Cesar Montoya (CRc) Santa Ana/ Banco Cuscatlan, 4:24:00
2. Thomas Frischknecht (Sui) Swisspower/ Scout Team, 4:24:00
3. Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Volkswagen/ Trek Team, 4:33:11
4. Roddi Lega (Can) Norco Factory Team/ Ride Guide TV, 4:45:14
5. Marvin Campos (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 4:45:24
6. Rom Akerson (CRc) Red Bull Team, 4:45:37
7. Deiber Esquivel (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 4:46:55
8. Gonzalo Bonilla (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 4:46:55
9. Douglas Gutierrez (CRc) Nature Valley, 4:47:23
1. Thomas Frischknecht (Sui) Swisspower/ Scout Team, 14:32:58
2. Marvin Campos (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 14:46:32
3. Paolo Cesar Montoya (CRc) Santa Ana/ Banco Cuscatlan, 14:49:29
4. Deiber Esquivel (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 14:56:31
5. Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Volkswagen/ Trek Team, 15:08:30
6. Gonzalo Bonilla (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 15:49:20
7. Roddi Lega (Can) Norco Factory Team/ Ride Guide TV, 15:53:52
8. Allan Cordero (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 15:58:14
9. Jorge Coto (CRc) Santa Ana/ Banco Cuscatlan, 16:07:21
10. Douglas Gutierrez (CRc) Nature Valley, 16:16:27
11. Rom Akerson (CRc) Red Bull Team, 16:17:24
12. Edgar Zumbado (CRc) Betplatinum.com, 16:48:58
13. LuisVillanea (CRc) Scotiabank-Pepsi-DHL, 16:52:36
14. Walker Ferguson (USA) Scott/ Giro Team, 16:54:29
15. Alejandro Diaz de la Pena (Esp) Maxxis Team/ MSC Bikes, 16:54:31
16. Carlos Marin (CRc) Banco Cuscatlan-Santa Ana-Super Pro, 17:01:07
17. Jesus Rojas (Ven) Red Bull/ Cafe Flor de Patria Team, 17:02:25
18. Manuel Prado (CRc) Sho-AIR, 17:10:27
19. Maikol Cambronero (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 17:16:55
20. Jose Vega (CRc) Interfin Banex Pensiones, 17:21:50
21. Jesus Arcila (Per) Unixys Team, 17: 25:58
Master A 30-39
1. Melvin Rojas (CRc) Litespeed/ Ciclo Guilly, 16:16:53
2. Esteban Vargas (CRc) Ciclo Santa Barbara, 16:42:16
3. Esteban Mendez (CRc) Hospira Holding, 16:55:50
Master B 40 +
1. Allan St. Pierre (Can) No team, 17:42:21
2. Pat Dodge (Can) The Bike Shop, 18:51:43
3. Jorge Castillo (CRc) Super Pro/ Botica El Pueblo, 19:09:15
1. Louis Kobin (USA) XFusion/ Adidas/ Magura Team, 20:00:58
2. Ligia Madrigal (CRc) Powerade Team, 20:58:46
3. Jamie Whitmore (USA) Reebok Team, 22:07:35
For Full Results go to the official website
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