Perhaps the biggest surprise of this year's La Ruta de los Conquistadores, which wrapped up this weekend, was the performance of AMA Superbike rider Ben Bostrom, who not only won the Men's Master A classification, but also took fourth overall in the general classification.
The 35-year-old American motorcycle racer won the AMA Superbike Championship in 1998 and the AMA Supersport Championship in 2008. He is a relative unknown in the sport of professional mountain biking, but his La Ruta performance has confirmed he can ride with the top endurance riders in the world.
He played a key role in his Sho-Air / Specialized team's success, which was capped off with an overall win by Costa Rican cross country champion Manny Prado. On stage 3, when Prado bonked hard early on, Bostrom sacrificed his own performances to drop back and play team domestique. He towed Prado back into contention with the race leaders.
The win brought Prado's career full circle. He started out as a boy working in the local Costa Rican pineapple fields before coming to America to chase his pro cycling dreams. Prado won the opening La Ruta stage and rode a controlled race in the remaining three stages to take the overall win with a 22-minute margin. He was the first racer to win La Ruta while racing a dual suspension bike.
Bostrom and Prado will continue to compete in select endurance events in 2010.
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