Dakar South American Style
Today two of the leaders of the race have had to give up. Due to the length it was a tough stage, with the dust making it dangerous for the riders. The day started with fog, which combined with the dust sticked to everything including your glasses.
Team Honda Europe has battled and won, with all six riders back in the bivouac. The track went from stretches of gravel to riverbeds and fesh-fesh. The riders had to do long distances using their compass, making for an easy navigation. But the dust kept everyone alarmed. ASO had said it was very well possible to ride next to the fes fes on harder surface. This was vital as you could escape some of the dust, Gerben Vruggink said after the stage.
Christopher Jarmuz (37 in the stae, 32 overall) climbed a few places in the ranking today and is trying to reach the top 30. "It was long and dusty! Today I spend 7.5 hours on the bike. Unfortunately I got lost in the fog which has cost some time. The stones tracks are easy for me, I like them. But there were also a lot of very fast but dangerous tracks with big holes in them. Well marked in the roadbook, but still dangerous. My results make me happy, as I've climbed 7 places again. And now I need some sleep!"
Gerben Vruggink (43 in the stage, 53 overall): "The first 30 to 40 kilometers were difficult because of the visibilty in the fog. I noticed a few turn with only little tracks on them, a lot of people must have made mistakes in the navigation. Christopher was one of them, he has overtaken me 3 times today. We've had stretches on GPS over 30 km long! At the last tankstop at km 337 I talked to Christopher, and cheered we had almost reached the finishline. He looked at me with a strange face, as I had overlooked 100 km.. The last 20 km I could use the GPS and ride directly to the finish."
Mirjam Pol (63 in the stage, 55 overall): "It is not yet my kind of Dakar. 483 km in the dust isn't fun. I had a lot of riders in front of me who I could not overtake due to the dust. And that is a pity for the ranking!
Patrick Trahan (58 in the stage, 77 overall): "Dust", that's my short summary for the day. It was tough on your body because of the length, but the terrain was easy. I could ride my own speed and did not make too many mistakes. There were a lot of people alongside the tracks who have had to give up because of crashes etc. My rear brake stopped working after a fall, which was another reason to be very carefull".
Aloys Ressing (93 in the stage, 83 overall) and Tonny Krabbenborg (96 in the stage, 91 overall) do Dakar the easy way. "We want to reach the bivouac at night, that is our goal. We are determined, but we know our limits. "Today Aloys said we should have a break halfway through the special and sit in the shade of a tree. But we could not find any, so we stopped at a small tent which turned out ot be a police station. The policemen gave us the best tasting chicke we have ever had! It was the perfect break on such a long day, and we are happy to be in the bivouac again."
Thomas de Bois, driving a Honda with the kit from Team Honda Europe had to give up today for the first time in 4 years on the bike. He had a broken shoulderbone after a bit hit. "It happened in a second. I looked at the waving competitors and there I went flying. It feels unpleasant to give up, as I was very happy with the Honda and the riding went very well." Thomas had his crash at km 100, and only in the bivouac people noticed he had a broken shoulder. We hope to him back next year!"