Despite having to inflate his tire twice before changing the entire wheel at the aid station, Paolo Montoya managed to keep his lead over his closest GC closest rival, Cannondale’s Alex Grant to take his second La Ruta title.
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Montoya won the first stage and was able to keep his lead over 500 racers to the finish line in Limón, Costa Rica’s Caribbean main port.
The stage started off with an optional raft at one of the world’s most spectacular sites, the Pacuare River. Once racers made it to the take out, the last stage started.
70 kilometres of railroads and sketchy bridge crossings took racers all the way to the coast where the last sprint to the finish line kept the pace of the lead pack strong and explosive.
Stage winner was Costa Rican Enrique Artavia, followed by Lico Ramírez and Todd Wells in fourth place.
Artavia earned his stage lead from the very first railroad bridge. He ran around Todd Wells in a bold move that set the tone for the rest of the stage, then kept on gaining speed as he hauled his bike, literally running across the bridges.
“I don’t know how he did it, he just ran across the bridges and we saw him get away,” said Lico Ramírez.
The leaders knew that the last 10 kilometres meant a mighty sprint to the end of the race. The GC was tight and everyone knew that a flat could mean losing a podium place.
Lico and Wells were able to break away from the chase pack and catch up with Artavia. But that wasn’t enough to get them on the podium at the 20th anniversary of La Ruta.
1 Enrique Artavia (CRC) – 1:47:42
2 Federico Ramirez (CRC) – 0:00:01
3 Todd Wells (USA) – 0:00:02
1 Pua Mata (USA – 2:06:37
2 Samantha Phillips (GBR) – 00:11:05
3 Cynthia Coto (CRC) – 00:18:41
1 Paolo Montoya (CRC) – 10:40:27
2 Alex Grant (USA) – 00:07:51
3 Dennis Porras (CRC) – 00:08:59
1 Pua Mata (USA) – 12:35:18
2 Ligia Madrigal (CRC) – 04:25:49
3 Cynthia Coto (CRC) – 04:33:43