Cannondale athletes, Ben Sonntag and Alex Grant will return to Costa Rica with the intentions of defending their 1-2 finishes at the brutal La Ruta de Los Conquistadors stage race, beginning next Wednesday, November 2nd.

The 4-day race features absolutely gnarly terrain with ungodly elevation gains of over 14,000 feet each day, climbs steeper than 23% gradient and lots of mud and rain… all testing the riders technical abilities and fitness. Many sections are un-rideable, forcing the riders to "shoulder" their bikes, meaning the lighter the bike and the better the mud-clearance, the greater the advantage! Both Grant and Sonntag have been preparing for just that: Grant, showing stellar form with a podium finish at the legendary Leadville 100 and Sonntag, has spent the summer training and racing Marathon and Multi day stage races in Europe while based at his home in Germany.

Always a team-player, Alex Grant (2nd Overall at La Ruta for the last 2 years) was quick to point out the link between teamwork and success, "We can take nothing for granted, but know that if we play our cards right and execute like we did last year there's no reason why a Lefty can't be on the La Ruta podium for the third year in a row!"

A race with a constantly changing character requires an infallible and capable ride.

"LaRuta is rough on the body and bike," Said Sonntag. "My Scalpel was the important puzzle piece last year, why change it? No other full suspension offers that much mud clearance, is as light and stiff as a hardtail but comfortable and forgiving at the same time. The set-up will mostly remain the same as last year; Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires w/ Snake Skin sidewall protection combine safety, mud performance and rolling performance like no other tire I know and of course the Cannondale Lefty fork is stiffer, lighter, and better performing than everything else out there! Did I mention mud clearance? It’s the 'no-excuse' LaRuta bike."

Stay tuned to Cannondale.com, www.facebook.com/RideCannondale and www.Twitter.com/ridecannondale for updates throughout the race!