Marconi Durán (Coopenae-Movistar-Economy) and Pua Mata (ShoAir-Cannondale) won the 21st edition of La Ruta de los Conquistadores on Saturday.
Mata was unchallenged at La Ruta, winning all three stages. In the men’s contest, Federico Ramírez (Grupo Orosi-Trek) won Saturday’s finale, a 121km leg between Turrialba and Limón, but Durán, the victor in stage one, finished fifth to clinch the overall title.
Alex Grant (ShoAir-Cannondale) finished second overall at 11 minutes and 31 seconds down — his fourth runner-up finish at La Ruta — with 2012 champion Paolo Montoya (Frijoles Los Tierniticos-Focus) third at 17:40.
It was Durán’s first attempt at La Ruta, and the victor said that may have given him a bit of an advantage — particularly in stage one, which he won by more than 11 minutes.
“I think I did a good job from beginning to end,” he said. “I was very well prepared, and I wasn’t one for the favorites, so maybe that helped me surprise everyone. All my team is happy. They had wanted to win the race several times, but it had not happened. This is a very important race. La Ruta de los Conquistadores is a great race. I am very thankful.”
Grant joked about finishing second again, saying: “I have finished second place four times, so next year I’m not coming to win, I’m coming for my fifth second-place finish, which will set a record.”
As for Montoya, he said overconfidence in stage one proved his downfall “and it was a huge learning lesson for me.”
“At the end of the day I’m happy I placed third, although I know it was because Todd Wells got a flat tire,” he said. “If he hadn’t I wouldn’t have made the podium.”