The Cerro de la Muerte is probably one of the toughest climb in the world with his highest peak at 3335m of altitude. Doing it twice in two day is an even greater challenge and that is what was on the menu for the 11th stage of the Vuelta.

By Jean-Michel Lachance

With David abandoning the race the day before due to illness, the team was now down to 3 riders; Anton, Stephen and Cory. The race started almost right in the climb in Perez Zeledon with only 5km of flat before starting to climb for a couple of hours (45,6km at 5,6% for a total of 2470m of vertical climbing) . It's like climbing up the Empire State building 6,5 times !

Like the day before, I left about an hour before the race to ride the stage and arrive at the hotel in advance to prepare the rooms, and then wash the bikes in the afternoon. I was joined by one of the German riders but we ended up splitting ourselves. I wanted to reach the top before the leaders and he wanted to climb more slowly as he was still tired from the vuelta. Again, like yesterday, I did'nt had time to pack much food and I only had half a banana as fuel. I decided to stop at a restaurant a few kilometers after the summit to eat a little dinner and keep going afterwards. A little before that, I was passed by the leaders. First Cesar Rojas of Tierniticos and then the yellow jersey group with Roman Villalobos and Josue Gonzalez. They all had a huge gap on the other groups that followed. 

As I was paying my lunch, the credit card terminal of the restaurant didn't work and a generous costa rican approach me and offered to pay for my lunch!

After that lunch pause, I was again on my way to San Jose with about 90km to go. As I was'nt racing myself, I went quite slowly this time. The pavement is a bit rough on the downhill side and since the beginning of this trip I especially did'nt want to take any risk with my broken elbow. Cory first pass me along with a couple other riders. Cory said me afterwards: "I mostly pull the entire way alone. The other riders were just happy to sit on, and I just wanted to get it done."

A few minutes later, as I was taking pictures on the side of the road, a much bigger group passed in which Stephen was in. Anton followed solo a bit afterwards as he got unlucky today with 2 flat tires. He eventually catch on that group.

After Anton passed me, I should have stayed not too far as the broom wagon car was with him and heavy traffic behind. Anyway, I made my way through it and made it to the hotel where I prepared the rooms for the guys. 

Racing wise, all our riders finished in time so it was mission accomplished for us. Cesar Rojas hold his lead all the way to the finish in Paraiso, while Juan Carlos Rojas extended his lead over Roman Villalobos who suffered a crash after hitting a dog crossing the road near the finish. Their was a bit of controversy once again as Juan Carlos didn't wait for Roman after the crash but decided to pull harder instead.

Tomorrow is the last stage of the Vuelta with the Circuito Presidente in Heredia. Last time, I finished 4th there and I hope one of the guys can crack a top 10

primi sui motori con e-max