SAN JOSE, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Colombian cyclist Oscar Sanchez took the lead Sunday in the 48th edition of the Costa Rica Tour, clocking the fastest time in the seventh leg of the 12-stage competition.
Sunday's race featured a grueling 18-kilometer uphill track through the Poas de Alajuela mountain range, 40 kilometers northwest of the capital San Jose, where cyclists climbed to a height of 2,123 meters above sea level.
Sanchez, a member of the GW-Shimano team, completed the track in 48 minutes and 57 seconds, ahead of Costa Ricas' Roman Villalobos, of the JPS-Giant team, who came in second at 49 minutes and 48 seconds, and his teammate Juan Carlos Rojas, third with 50 minutes and 8 seconds.
Cyclists are to rest Monday for the eighth leg of the tour Tuesday, which will take them to La Aurora de Heredia, an area 10 kilometers north of the capital. Called the President's Circuit, the 118-kilometer track is traditionally dedicated to the nation's head of state, in this case President Laura Chinchilla.
Teams from Chile, Guatemala and Cuba, as well as Colombia and host country Costa Rica, are taking part in the Dec. 17 to 29 event known in Spanish as the Vuelta Ciclista a Costa Rica.
Costa Rica won the last two editions of the race first organized in 1965.