Leao Pinto claims final stage, Sonntag holds on to win overall

Parra seals GC with final stage victory in women's race

German Ben Sonntag rode a solid final stage 4 victory at La Ruta de los Conquistadores on Saturday to finish fifth and secure his first-ever overall mountain bike stage race win. After steadily improving each day, Luis Leao Pinto of Portugal took his first stage victory ahead of his breakaway companion Milton Ramos. Multi-time past winner and local favorite Federico Ramirez finished third in the stage and in the GC. with Sonntag's Cannondale teammate Alex Grant successfully defending his second overall.

Among the women, Angela Parra of Colombia made it a perfect race by securing her fourth and final stage victory as well as the overall title. In contrast to the other stages, Parra didn't ride this one solo, but instead spent most of the stage with past winner Louise Kobin, who was second just two seconds back. Rebecca Rusch took third. The general classification remained unchanged, with Parra ahead of Kobin and Rusch.

The final day started under soaking rains, and riders headed out for a mostly road stage that would take them to the Carribean Sea. Stage 4 finished on a beautiful sandy beach under sunny skies and high humidity. Most riders headed directly for the ocean to clean up and chill out after four gruelling days.

En route today, racers tackled the race's famous railroad track section, including many treacherous railroad bridges. Gaps between the railroad ties give racers a clear view down to the raging waters below. Locals climbed out onto the bridges, parking themselves alongside the tracks, to cheer passing racers, whose full concentration was on where and when to place their feet as they walked across.

Cannondale goes one-two

Yellow jersey Ben Sonntag successfully defended his race lead on the final day. "I think that the only foreigners to have won this race are Leonardo Paez, Thomas Frischknecht and now me," said the jubilant winner.

"I won La Ruta and that is absolutely crazy - I haven't realized yet what this victory means to me," said the 30-year-old German, who lives in Durango, Colorado.

Sonntag said that the final stage wasn't as hard as he was expecting and he felt good enough to be able to help his Cannondale teammate Alex Grant hang on for second. "I had one tough day yesterday, but in the end what I had was enough."

"The stage wasn't physically as hard today, but mentally it was super tough. There were attacks and we had to fend the others guys off. Federico kept trying to follow them."

The race started fast after rolling out of Turriabla. Manny Prado tried a few attacks as did Luis Mejia, the disqualified rider who was still racing two stages later. At one point, Sam Schultz joined him off the front, but the two were later caught on a long, rough downhill road section.

Leonard Jason Tullous, Alexander Sanchez Calderon, Sonntag, Grant, Eddy Perez, Santos Corea Gutierrez, Juan Carlos Fallas Rodriguez, Federico Ramirez and Thomas Turner were all part of the main lead group, which was whittled down throughout the rest of the race as riders took turns coming off on the punchy climbs.

The first half of the race was like a road race and team tactics came in handy. One rider without a teammate was amateur racer Leao Pinto, a lawyer from Portugal, who proved strong enough to get off the front with Milton Ramos on the final railroad tracks section. Leao Pinto took the stage ahead of yesterday's stage winner Ramos.

"I knew I had to be on Federico's or Milton's wheel to make it here today," said Leao Pinto. "Everything worked out. We were the first ones to go onto the tracks (from an adjacent road), and we tried to gain time, which we did."

Ramos said he could only follow Leao Pinto and that the two were not working together.

The pair would not be seen again by anyone else in the race and finished over two minutes ahead of the chasers, which was were the GC battle was being fought.

"It was a very hard day, and I didn't feel so good," said Ramirez. "Uphill, I tried many times to attack the leader, but he was too strong. Riders started attacking in the final, flat 15km on the tracks near the coast, and we split."

"This one looks like it's easy because of so much flat, but it's the hardest for me," said Grant. "My biggest weakness is power in the flats. This is the bumpiest possible flat you can ride. It kills me to have to put out that much power. Last year, I got dropped and lost 2.5 minutes to Ben in the last 10 minutes. This year, the same thing was happening. I made it to the back of Federico, and Ben sat at the front so they wouldn't attack. He paid me back for yesterday when I helped him out."

"It was like a bunch of sprints to each section of tracks. It was like a cross race for two hours after all the rest of the racing we'd done," said Grant.

"When we hit the tracks today, it was all together. We hit a long road with huge puddles. Pinto Ramos and Mejia all jumped on the tracks when we stayed in the puddles. I just followed Federico and Ben. I didn't worry about the leaders. If Federico got off the tracks, I did. If he got on, I did. I think he was a little frustrated he couldn't get away."

Parra dominates women's race

Although the placings of the top three women in the fourth stage were the same as the other stages, this last one was slightly different in that Angela Parra and Louise Kobin rode much of the race together and finished just two seconds apart on the stage.

Going into the day, the GC seemed set, barring any misfortunes, and both Parra and Kobin knew that.

"I wanted to finish today so I took care of my bike and had a good experience, arriving with Louise. She's a good rider and has a lot of courage," said the 28-year-old winner Parra.

Kobin was smiles as usual after the finish line. "I'm not as tired as I have been in the past because we rode together for most of the day and I don't think either of us was killing ourselves."

Reflecting on her seventh La Ruta, she said, "It's just another notch in the belt I guess." Of all the finishers polled about doing the race again, Kobin seemed the most willing to say it was likely. "I'm sure there will be another, but I'll decide in a few weeks."

Rebecca Rusch didn't ride with any other women, but she did hook up with Chris Carmichael and a bunch of other Americans. "Today was super fun. It was Gringo Day. We had a little riding party and it was nice to not be alone for one of the days. A group really helped along on the road sections. It was good to be part of a well-oiled machine with experienced roadies."

Race notes

- Rider #315, Juan Carlos Marin  Valenciano, was disqualified prior to the start of stage 4 for accepting outside assistance during stage 3. While the news was again announced on the start line, this time, there were no protests and the rider agreed with the ruling.

- Past winner Ramirez commented on the controversy that followed the disqualification of riders who accepted outside support - a rule now being enforced by organizers when evidence was available to prove the cheating. "I've raced all over the planet, and I think the rules should be followed." He also commented on the elevated level of racing. "This year was harder. In previous years, there were about three people fighting for the win, and this year, there were about 10 contenders. I do think it's possible for me to win it again."

- Alex Grant was second overall for the second time. "That's two second places in a row," he said. "I have to win sometime."

- Lance Armstrong's coach Chris Carmichael participated in La Ruta to celebrate his 50th birthday a few weeks ago. He finished 70th overall in the GC.

- Sam Schultz might have won an award for most flats. Racing his first La Ruta, he suffered five total in four stages.

Stage 4 Results

Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Luis Leao  Pinto (Por)4:27:11 
2Milton Ramos (Hon)0:00:01 
3Federico Ramirez  Mendez (CRc)0:02:09 
4Ismael Ventura  sanchez (Spa)0:02:18 
5Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)0:02:20 
6Alexander Sanchez  Calderon (CRc)  
7Alex Grant (USA)0:02:21 
8Manuel Prado (CRc)0:24:42 
9Thomas Turner (USA)  
10Juan  carlos Fallas  Rodriguez (CRc)0:24:44 
11Eddy Perez (CRc)0:27:01 
12Corey Scobie (USA)0:35:06 
13Alfredo  Cesar Acosta  Gonzalez (CRc)0:35:10 
14Samuel  Tyler Schultz (USA)0:36:38 
15Luis  Diego Chaverri  Madden (CRc)0:38:07 
16James Andrew  Lehman (USA)0:42:28 
17Adam Pulford (USA)  
18Mario  Alfredo Meneses  Bonilla (CRc)0:43:05 
19Santos Corea  Gutierrez (CRc)0:46:34 
20Felix Arratzoa  Arrechea (Spa)0:50:46 
21Pavel Popiolek (Cze)0:50:48 
22Fernando Salazar (CRc)0:52:08 
23Alvaro  José Lanuza  Viquez (CRc)0:52:09 
24Blake Harlan (USA)0:53:18 
25Daniel Perez (USA)0:53:19 
26Matt Luhn (USA)0:57:25 
27Matthew Ohran (USA)1:00:03 
28Javier Lanzuela  Sanchez (Spa)1:02:28 
29Marco Amador  Jimenez (CRc)1:02:57 
30Rodrigo Herrera  Solorzano (CRc)1:03:49 
31Stephanus Francois  Millard (RSA)1:03:53 
32Dirk Luttekes (Ned)1:04:18 
33Javier Badilla  Badilla (CRc)1:08:07 
34Arnoldo Loaiza  Duran (CRc)1:10:28 
35Leonard  Jason Tullous (USA)1:14:10 
36Roberto Monge  Brenes (CRc)1:15:28 
37Danny  A. corrales  Zecca (CRc)1:16:57 
38Luis  fernando Mora  Hidalgo (CRc)1:18:11 
39Eric Kollai (USA)1:18:13 
40Jon  Christian Carmichael (USA)1:21:20 
41Juan  Pablo Venegas  Herrera (CRc)1:23:47 
42Max Araya  Orozco (CRc)1:24:12 
43Victor  Alonso Araya  Pereira (CRc)1:26:04 
44Ron Rel (USA)1:26:50 
45Scott Kuppersmith (USA)1:26:51 
46Monte Hewett (USA)1:27:59 
47Andrew Slayton (USA)1:28:00 
48Leonel Gomez  Navarro (CRc)1:28:02 
49Anthony  Steve Fonseca  Sanchez (CRc)1:30:12 
50Pablo Castrillo (CRc)  
51Walter Blanco (CRc)  
52Van Dupree  Council (USA)1:33:12 
53Felipe Castro  Barquero (CRc)1:33:40 
54Modesto Jimenez  Vargas (CRc)1:34:01 
55Allan Padilla  U. (CRc)1:36:33 
56David John  Burke (Can)  
57Fernando  José Hernandez  Brenes (CRc)1:37:17 
58Carlos Arce  Estrada (CRc)1:37:36 
59Carlos Robles  Cordero (CRc)1:38:36 
60Heiner Mora  Quiros (CRc)1:39:01 
61Julio Mena  monge (CRc)1:39:07 
62Ben Morris (USA)1:40:13 
63Mauricio Alvarado  Rivera (CRc)1:40:14 
64Mauricio Richmond  Padilla (CRc)1:44:31 
65Leonel Chacon  Chan (CRc)1:44:48 
66Seraphin John  Millon (USA)1:44:50 
67Peter Ackerman (Swi)1:44:52 
68Luis Rubi  Quant (CRc)1:45:01 
69Iker Maíz (Mex)1:45:30 
70Kenneth Sanabria (CRc)1:47:42 
71Rafael Mesen  Solis (CRc)  
72Luis Arias  Muñoz (CRc)1:48:35 
73Gigi Giyora  Stahi (CRc)1:48:48 
74Rolando Flores  Guerrero (Mex)1:49:59 
75John  Paul Matzigkeit (USA)1:53:09 
76Christopher Music (CRc)1:55:10 
77Carlos  José Achan  Sanchez (CRc)  
78Erick Diaz  Vivian (Mex)1:55:33 
79Carlos Calvo  Ramazzini (CRc)1:58:53 
80Thomas F  Smith (USA)1:58:54 
81Andres Fernandez (CRc)1:58:55 
82Robert Quinn (USA)1:59:30 
83Martin Lorenzo  y  Lozada (Uru)2:06:48 
84Andrew Merrick (Can)2:07:28 
85Javier  Jose Gurdian  Astua (CRc)2:08:34 
86Gabriel  Dario Montero  Ramos (Ecu)2:12:05 
87Wilbert Solis  Azofeifa (CRc)2:12:27 
88David Leal  Cruz (CRc)  
89Chris Waldron (Can)  
90Mario  Albertry Rodriguez  Sequeira (CRc)2:14:31 
91Martin Fuentes  Ruiz (CRc)2:15:39 
92Francisco Alfaro  Morales (CRc)2:18:55 
93Johann Kroll (Aut)2:24:41 
94Braulio  Esteban Leiva  Perez (CRc)2:24:43 
95David Johnston (Can)2:24:49 
96Jonathan Chaves  Calvo (CRc)2:25:51 
97Rob Bilich (Cro)2:27:42 
98Rafael  A. Salazar  Castro (CRc)2:29:26 
99Fidel Garza  Chapa (Mex)2:31:28 
100Edgar Gomez  Castaño (Mex)2:31:40 
101Diego Rapetti (Uru)2:32:57 
102Jorge Salazar (CRc)2:33:00 
103Iñigo Labat  Yanguas (Spa)2:33:11 
104Joe Czempoyesh (Can)2:34:15 
105Fernando Salazar  Martinez (Mex)2:34:34 
106Ronan Garnier (Fra)2:36:42 
107Rodolfo Mata  Lobo (CRc)2:36:50 
108Odd Mjaland (Nor)2:38:00 
109Manuel Marco (Mex)2:38:19 
110Patrick Haines (CRc)2:39:13 
111Silvia  E. Cespedes  Quesada (CRc)2:39:15 
112Alejandro Arias  Victory (CRc)2:45:07 
113Jerry  José Zamora  Rojas (CRc)2:45:09 
114Bruno Carvalho (PRc)2:46:02 
115Marcel Bachmann (Swi)  
116Heart Akerson (USA)2:46:04 
117Francisco Sanchez  Castillo (CRc)2:46:07 
118Ricardo  E. Aguirre (Mex)2:51:05 
119John  Christopher Sagebiel (USA)2:51:48 
120Mark  Christopher Rago (USA)  
121Anthony Damico  Jr (USA)  
122Alan Arguello  Diaz (CRc)2:53:35 
123Julio Molina  Arias (CRc)2:54:47 
124Pablo Gamez (CRc)  
125Juan  Simon Ocaña  Ortiz (Mex)2:58:26 
126Ignacio  S. Merino  Lanzilotti (Mex)  
127Lawson Willard (USA)3:02:21 
128Jorge  Ricardo Schiller (Mex)3:11:06 
129William Blanco (CRc)3:14:47 
130Alberto  José Gamboa  Pacheco (CRc)3:17:38 
131Richard Arden (GBr)3:23:26 
132Alvaro  José Salazar  Kruse (CRc)3:30:30 
133Mauricio  J. Ortiz  Odio (CRc)3:31:45 
134Gustavo Padilla  Umaña (CRc)3:31:46 
135Henry Wong  Castro (CRc)3:32:19 
136Thomas Sandi  campos (CRc)3:37:03 
137Giancarlo Loria  Fonseca (CRc)  
138Rodrigo  H. Gonzalez  Gonzalez (Mex)3:37:06 
139Esteban Roman (CRc)3:43:37 
140Olman Nuñez  Varela (CRc)3:46:00 
141Robert Gehlen (USA)3:46:28 
142Thomas Harvey (GBr)3:54:15 
143Diego Gil  Jimenez (CRc)4:05:03 
144Manuel Ulloa  Gil (CRc)4:05:06 
145Jorge  Miranda Gutierrez (Mex)4:12:26 
146Marco  Antonio Leal  Gomez (Mex)4:20:00 
147Rolf Blancke (CRc)4:20:03 
148Hesiquio Merino  Lanzilotti (Mex)4:20:13 
149Carlos Loria  Loria (CRc)4:43:24 
150Reuven Sztejfman (Isr)4:44:53 
151Christopher Hoe (USA)  
Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Angela Parra  Sierra (Col)5:30:58 
2Louise Kobin (USA)0:00:02 
3Rebecca Rusch (USA)0:01:19 
4Brenda  María Muñoz  Arce (CRc)0:29:55 
5Jane Rynbrandt (USA)0:41:09 
6Ligia Madrigal (CRc)1:01:57 
7Dianna Ineman (USA)0:41:05 
8Kristin Kopec (Can)0:55:09 
9Sandra Pereira  M.O.  Garnier (PRc)1:32:55 
10April Sky  Herring (USA)1:48:01 
11Cassandra Lean  Stamm (USA)1:49:53 
12Dawn Fidler (USA)2:41:40 
13Kathy Salisbury (USA)  
14Lena Yarbrough (USA)2:50:13 

Final general classification

Men general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)18:17:27 
2Alex Grant (USA)0:02:30 
3Federico Ramirez  Mendez (CRc)0:03:49 
4Milton Ramos (Hon)0:07:35 
5Luis Leao  Pinto (Por)0:15:48 
6Alexander Sanchez  Calderon (CRc)0:45:35 
7Ismael Ventura  sanchez (Spa)1:04:59 
8Eddy Perez (CRc)1:09:49 
9Manuel Prado (CRc)1:14:36 
10Samuel  Tyler Schultz (USA)1:40:53 
11Thomas Turner (USA)1:52:27 
12Alfredo  Cesar Acosta  Gonzalez (CRc)2:08:10 
13Santos Corea  Gutierrez (CRc)2:26:51 
14Juan  carlos Fallas  Rodriguez (CRc)2:43:10 
15Leonard  Jason Tullous (USA)3:07:22 
16Blake Harlan (USA)3:50:48 
17James Andrew  Lehman (USA)3:58:56 
18Luis  Diego Chaverri  Madden (CRc)4:07:35 
20Mario  Alfredo Meneses  Bonilla (CRc)4:54:40 
21Adam Pulford (USA)5:00:49 
22Javier Lanzuela  Sanchez (Spa)5:01:03 
24Corey Scobie (USA)5:20:04 
25Daniel Perez (USA)5:36:52 
26Felix Arratzoa  Arrechea (Spa)5:38:39 
27Alvaro  José Lanuza  Viquez (CRc)5:41:33 
29Fernando Salazar (CRc)5:48:09 
30Javier Badilla  Badilla (CRc)6:30:52 
31Marco Amador  Jimenez (CRc)6:35:58 
32Rodrigo Herrera  Solorzano (CRc)6:48:34 
33Victor  Alonso Araya  Pereira (CRc)7:15:54 
34Stephanus Francois  Millard (RSA)7:18:24 
35Eric Kollai (USA)7:19:03 
36Arnoldo Loaiza  Duran (CRc)7:20:09 
37Heiner Mora  Quiros (CRc)7:29:18 
38Luis  fernando Mora  Hidalgo (CRc)7:32:57 
39Felipe Castro  Barquero (CRc)7:37:07 
40Anthony  Steve Fonseca  Sanchez (CRc)7:40:57 
41Juan  Pablo Venegas  Herrera (CRc)7:41:00 
42Pablo Castrillo (CRc)7:41:10 
43Allan Padilla  U. (CRc)7:42:54 
44Leonel Gomez  Navarro (CRc)7:57:23 
45Max Araya  Orozco (CRc)8:06:07 
47Matthew Ohran (USA)8:17:01 
48Walter Blanco (CRc)8:18:45 
49Monte Hewett (USA)8:19:17 
50Iñigo Labat  Yanguas (Spa)8:39:22 
51Iker Maíz (Mex)8:44:00 
52Van Dupree  Council (USA)8:47:08 
53Carlos Arce  Estrada (CRc)8:49:06 
55Andrew Slayton (USA)8:57:26 
56Roberto Monge  Brenes (CRc)9:08:37 
57Dirk Luttekes (Ned)9:19:44 
58Mauricio Alvarado  Rivera (CRc)9:28:10 
59Fernando  José Hernandez  Brenes (CRc)9:36:07 
60Leonel Chacon  Chan (CRc)9:43:21 
62Luis Arias  Muñoz (CRc)9:44:28 
63Rolando Flores  Guerrero (Mex)9:47:47 
64Julio Mena  monge (CRc)9:53:44 
65Ben Morris (USA)9:56:33 
66Luis Rubi  Quant (CRc)9:58:57 
67Scott Kuppersmith (USA)10:03:33 
68Seraphin John  Millon (USA)10:06:05 
69Christopher Music (CRc)10:17:23 
70Jon  Christian Carmichael (USA)10:20:39 
71Gigi Giyora  Stahi (CRc)10:21:41 
72Mauricio Richmond  Padilla (CRc)10:24:36 
73Carlos Robles  Cordero (CRc)10:28:29 
74Mario  Albertry Rodriguez  Sequeira (CRc)10:32:49 
75Kenneth Sanabria (CRc)10:39:36 
76John  Paul Matzigkeit (USA)11:08:52 
77David John  Burke (Can)11:16:44 
79Peter Ackerman (Swi)11:27:21 
80Joe Czempoyesh (Can)11:31:28 
81Danny  A. corrales  Zecca (CRc)11:32:59 
82Rafael Mesen  Solis (CRc)11:39:25 
83Gabriel  Dario Montero  Ramos (Ecu)11:43:47 
84Modesto Jimenez  Vargas (CRc)11:44:00 
85Andres Fernandez (CRc)11:54:33 
86Wilbert Solis  Azofeifa (CRc)12:19:18 
87Carlos Calvo  Ramazzini (CRc)12:24:30 
89Thomas F  Smith (USA)12:35:07 
90Martin Lorenzo  y  Lozada (Uru)12:37:26 
91Rob Bilich (Cro)12:41:27 
92Andrew Merrick (Can)12:46:40 
93Jonathan Chaves  Calvo (CRc)12:50:17 
94Braulio  Esteban Leiva  Perez (CRc)13:01:07 
95Carlos  José Achan  Sanchez (CRc)13:02:58 
96Erick Diaz  Vivian (Mex)13:05:54 
97Alejandro Arias  Victory (CRc)13:07:16 
98John  Christopher Sagebiel (USA)13:19:21 
99David Leal  Cruz (CRc)13:23:33 
100Mark  Christopher Rago (USA)13:29:59 
101Bruno Carvalho (PRc)13:50:23 
102Robert Quinn (USA)13:54:12 
103Juan  Simon Ocaña  Ortiz (Mex)14:17:58 
104Jorge Salazar (CRc)14:24:21 
105Johann Kroll (Aut)14:24:45 
106Jerry  José Zamora  Rojas (CRc)14:28:26 
107Ronan Garnier (Fra)14:32:07 
108Chris Waldron (Can)14:32:59 
109Francisco Sanchez  Castillo (CRc)14:36:18 
111David Johnston (Can)14:51:33 
112Anthony Damico  Jr (USA)14:57:10 
113Silvia  E. Cespedes  Quesada (CRc)15:02:03 
114Martin Fuentes  Ruiz (CRc)15:02:14 
116Rafael  A. Salazar  Castro (CRc)15:28:05 
117Marcel Bachmann (Swi)15:53:19 
118Fernando Salazar  Martinez (Mex)16:02:52 
119Diego Rapetti (Uru)16:07:00 
120Julio Molina  Arias (CRc)16:12:33 
121Alan Arguello  Diaz (CRc)16:13:18 
123Thomas Sandi  campos (CRc)16:33:33 
124Lawson Willard (USA)16:37:29 
125Rodolfo Mata  Lobo (CRc)16:43:22 
126Manuel Marco (Mex)16:45:40 
127Alberto  José Gamboa  Pacheco (CRc)16:49:22 
128Fidel Garza  Chapa (Mex)16:50:57 
129Henry Wong  Castro (CRc)16:55:48 
130Ignacio  S. Merino  Lanzilotti (Mex)17:00:17 
131Olman Nuñez  Varela (CRc)17:10:10 
132Heart Akerson (USA)17:43:49 
133Patrick Haines (CRc)17:45:32 
134Esteban Roman (CRc)18:13:05 
135Robert Gehlen (USA)18:19:32 
136Mauricio  J. Ortiz  Odio (CRc)18:23:45 
137Jorge  Ricardo Schiller (Mex)18:36:22 
139Manuel Ulloa  Gil (CRc)19:11:39 
141Alvaro  José Salazar  Kruse (CRc)19:16:29 
142Diego Gil  Jimenez (CRc)19:41:22 
143Rolf Blancke (CRc)20:56:23 
145Thomas Harvey (GBr)21:20:14 
Women general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Angela Parra  Sierra (Col)23:01:40 
2Louise Kobin (USA)0:28:33 
3Rebecca Rusch (USA)0:59:38 
4Brenda  María Muñoz  Arce (CRc)3:25:41 
5Jane Rynbrandt (USA)4:07:55 
6Ligia Madrigal (CRc)4:59:12 
7Dianna Ineman (USA)6:42:08 
8Kristin Kopec (Can)7:50:16 
9Sandra Pereira  M.O.  Garnier (PRc)9:57:23 
10April Sky  Herring (USA)10:26:12 
11Cassandra Lean  Stamm (USA)11:47:18 
12Dawn Fidler (USA)14:26:49 
13Kathy Salisbury (USA)14:31:17 
14Lena Yarbrough (USA)16:30:42 

 

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