Costa Rican pride was salvaged on the final day of La Ruta de los Conquistadors, when Andrei Amador (BCR-Pizza Hut) broke away in the final kilometres to win the third and final stage while Hector Leonardo Paez (Full Dynamix) cruised in fourth, secure in his lead of nearly 30 minutes, to take the overall title. Marga Fedyna (bungalowboys.com) took her third consecutive stage to dominate the women's competition.
The third stage, at 122 kilometres, is the longest, but in some ways the easiest - since it generally slopes downhill to the finish at the Caribbean beach resort of Playa Bonita. However, the riders still climb 1720 m (5650 feet), with 17% pavement, 12% mud and 51% gravel. The kicker is the 25 kilometres of train track - with the rail bed still in place. This is 21% of the total distance. Last year, riders caught a break, when one of the trestle bridges over a river was out of service and the race had to detour around on a long section of road but that bridge is now fixed. These bridges are high, over rivers containing Caiman alligators and have big gaps of 30-60 cm between each trestle as the riders walk across with bikes over their shoulders.
The Costa Ricans pooled their efforts, with a ferocious attack by former winner Paolo Montoya (Super Pro-Banco Cuscatlan) in the opening kilometre of the stage. This stage began with the riders heading back up the five kilometre descent they finished on yesterday. By the first two kilometres there was already a front group away, containing Montoya, Amador, Federico Ramirez (BCR-Pizza Hut), Deiver Esquivel (IBP) and Paez - four Costa Ricans and the lone Colombian leader. Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower) and Marizo Deho (Olympia) were chasing at 30 seconds, but didn't catch on until near the top of the first section of climbing.