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The Bird is Still Flying
Dakar : KTM - Leg 7
Cyril Despres started the today's stage, although with a heavy taped shoulder. The KTM Gauloises last year's winner of the Dakar has put in all his courage and temper in this race. Despres also took the start of the special test of 499 kilometres, one
of the longest of the race, and maybe one of the most difficult. Protected by his team-mate Michel Gau, the irreducible Frenchman gritted facing intolerable pain and proceeded with the leading group.
Despres pushed himself beyond the pain and crossed the dunes of the first very hard off piste section. At kilometer 257 he was signalled as stopped, but not defeated by yesterday's injury. But he only reduced his speed in order to check the situation. The story is not finished. Despres regained some positions, and at the CP2 the delay of the French champion was less than 20 minutes, and only 30 at the finish. Without any doubt an exceptional exploit. His finish result is far from his possibilities, but the blue bird, even if one of his wings is broken, is still flying.

Carlo De Gavardo, yesterday's winner of the special, started last because of the reversed starting order and open the track. Despite this the Chilean was still leading at the first check point then at the second of the today's special test. In the finals section of the special test the “Condor of Welken” pushed in order to reduce his disadvantage from Marc Coma, and also fell coming down from a dune, but the finish was almost reached, and also the second consecutive victory of the Repsol KTM Factory Team Rider.

The third side of the today's stage has been the race for the lead, the Repsol KTM Team sponsored Marc Coma started this Dakar with the potential for a strong duel with his main rival, Cyril Despres. For this reason his tactics was first to stay very concentrated with the aim of not to make any mistakes. As usual, every rider has his special characteristics, and the best way to take advantage of this is to wait for the right day to attack. Yesterday's stage perhaps was one of them, but the obligatory speed limit troubled the intentions of the Spaniard. Then the accident of Despres changed the “geography” of the possibilities.

Coma perfectly managed his resources, and also one of the most regular: no mistakes, no penalties, no falls. Simply he was waiting for the best moment to attack. As of today, he is still waiting. His second place in today's special test gives him more of an advantage in the stages to come.

For instance, Atar, the seventh stage of the race, was completed for the Repsol KTM Team by the third place of Giovanni Sala. The Italian is now 5th overall.

Two spectacular accidents occurred to two top riders: David Fretigné and the American Andy Grider. No serious consequences, but for the promising American of the Red Bull KTM Team his Dakar has finished on the helicopter of the organizers.

Double trouble. A private rider must accomplish many things in order to find the solution of the difficult puzzle of the Dakar. For a factory rider, for a favourite, the most difficult is to stay always at the top and to make decisions in a split moment.

Both private and official riders have heavy jobs. But which job is the heaviest in a race such as the Dakar Rallye? Perhaps we can help you to find this answer. Take a look at the job of a riders mechanic. One never knows if the mechanic ever slept during the night or not. Then they depart silently for the next stage in military fashion. The most difficult is to find the starting point of the their day. In a chasing order they must attend all of the daily motorcycle controls, and repairs if something is broken. Then they have to re-organize the assistance truck in order to reach the following stage, of course when all other people are sleeping, the mechanics are still working. They eat something, always quickly, then they thread into their sleeping bag for no more than two or three hours, with an early wake-up pending. The last control of the bike, then their rider, they warm up of the engine, and give the last advice to the leaving competitor.

Finally they can have a singular rest: the ceremony of the cleaning their hands. A long reflexive operation, which adds balance to the thier day. But their truck is also warming-up, and the thumping of a running engine seems to claim their attention. Ok, we can go…
Press Release KTM

     Saby stopped again, Miller crashes
     Stage for De Gavardo and Peterhansel
     Problems for Saby and Sainz
     De Gavardo fastest at CP1
     Navigational problems
     Lohr moves up in the top 30
     Sperrer fights back in Mauritania
     The Crash of Cyril Despres
     Bad news for Despres
     Thierry Magnaldi winning the special

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