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Favorites ready in Costa Rica

Louise Kobin makes her way across the bridge on her way to winning the stage.

Louise Kobin makes her way across the bridge on her way to winning the stage. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

La Ruta de los Conquistadores is returning for its 17th edition starting on Wednesday. 225 riders from all over the world have travelled to race the gruelling multi-day stage race across Costa Rica. 80 of the riders are local; the rest are international.

"It's not about making it to the finish line, it's about working with what you've got, giving it all your might and surviving the adversities that you might come upon along the way," said organizer Roman Urbina. "Lending a hand to someone else, a sip of water, a spare tube, a word of encouragement, a friendly smile... while you compete against yourself... that's the true spirit of La Ruta."

Among the favorites for the men's race are Tinker Juárez, Jeremiah Bishop, Bingen Fernandez, Marc Trayter, Mauricio Patiño, Rune Christopher Hoydahl, Manuel 'Manny' Prado, Ben Bronston and Milton Ramos. They will face tough competition with five-time La Ruta winner Federico 'Lico' Ramírez, who is also the defending champion and single edition past winners Adrian Bonilla and Edgar Zumbado. Pan Am champion Deiber Esquivel will also be racing.

On the women's side, multi-time past winner Louise Kobin will be the woman to watch.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.

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