With a focus on new stages and new regions for this year's Andes Pacifico, racers were treated to some never before ridden stages for both day three and four.
Day three, called Los Libertadores, started off on trails that were originally developed by dirt bikes and featured plenty of loose ruts and dusty bermed corners. Racers navigated through rock gardens and tried to avoid the sharp cacti that lined the sides of the trail. After lunch riders then went for a massive pedal up what was once a race stage in previous years to access an entirely new ridge not used in previous editions of the race. Fast and flowy was the name of the game as racers descended nearly two thousand meters spread over 15 kilometers.
A long drive to a new camp would have racers getting to bed quite late before day four which would offer up the highest elevations, the longest stages and a quick visit into Argentina. The first stage of the day, Los Leones, would straddle the border high in the Andes at nearly four thousand meters, and racers waiting to start actually lined up on the Argentinian side before dropping into Chile. At nearly 10 kilometers in length and with a vertical drop of 1,400 meters this would be the most physically demanding stage of the race. It was made even more special by the fact that all four of the stages had been built from scratch just for this race and had never been ridden by anyone other than the Andes Pacifico trail builders.
Of course, there was plenty of dust and sunshine, and when things settled down Pedro Burns and Florencia Espiñeira extended their already strong leads as the race heads into its final day. Behind them, the podium battles are still up for grabs with Romain Paulhan and Iago Garay quite close in the men's race and Kim Hardin and Paz Gallo almost too close to call in the women's.
The race will roll to the coast tomorrow for a well-deserved swim in the Pacific Ocean, but not before racers battle it out on another three long stages.