Dakar 2015 – Stage Ten
Barreda wins stage – Coma extends outright lead – Price closes on podium
Joan Barreda, frustrated by a streak of bad luck which sounded the death knell for his overall ambitions in stage 8, was determined to grab as many stage wins as possible to finish the Dakar in style. The Spaniard, possibly the most talented rider in the field, claimed his third win since the start in Buenos Aires after setting an infernal pace throughout the entire special and finishing 1′39″ ahead of Marc Coma in Cachi.
Joan Barreda – “I think that today went really well, I got away to swift start on an easy day that didn’t require much navigation and never left the main path. It’s a real shame about what happened in the salt flats of Uyuni, because that’s where I said goodbye to any possibilities. We were in the lead and with all the difficult work that we had done… But now I can only resign myself to it. We will be here for the last few days, supporting the team so that it gets the best result possible.”
Coma himself was the other big winner of today’s stage, as he increased the gap separating him from his closest rivals and consolidated his position at the head of the overall standings in Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally, picking up another two minutes on second-placed Paolo Goncalves (Honda) of Portugal.
Coma said after the stage that it was important to stay focused so close to the end of the rally. “It’s been a tough Dakar,” he said. “We have to fight many adverse situations but after so many days and despite the suffering, I am still enjoying it. That is what is great about this race. It makes you confront your limits and when you think you can’t do any more, you face them and move on. Today’s stage was very hard and it was not easy to keep up a high pace. At first there was the altitude, and then a technical part that really tested us. I tried to keep up the same pace throughout the stage.”
Paulo Gonçalves had to settle for fifth, conceding an extra two minutes to his KTM foe. “Today was a really quick stage, with some navigation that wasn’t too hard. The track was a bit slippery and we had to take it carefully. The first four finished together at a quick pace. I think that we had a good stage without pushing it too much, because we are back in the marathon stage again. The bike is in perfect shape for the battle tomorrow, and I am too.” said Honda’s top running man in second outright.
Eighth-placed Pablo Quintanilla lost even more ground and now holds a wafer-thin margin over the solid Toby Price, the Australian fourth today at 2-minutes 14-seconds behind stage winner Barreda, but more than four minutes ahead of the Chilean whoin third overall now has only a 24-second buffer over fourth placed Price.
Ruben Faria had a good day on the saddle, clocking the third fastest time and holds down seventh outright.
Helder Rodrigues was seventh on stage – “I had to take it with great care. I open the road, and although the navigation wasn’t difficult, there was a lot of concentration needed to not fall. My aim was to make it through with the bike in the best possible condition, because we are in the first leg of the marathon. The three of us are well placed and it’s good for the team.”
Laia Sanz was 12th on stage but remains an incredible eighth outright by more than 20-miuntes over Slovakian Ivan Jakes.
Laia Sanz – “The day has been long, with 12 hours on the bike up in the Andes at over 5,000 metres altitude and temperatures of minus 10⁰ C. The special stage was the best that we’ve had so far in this Dakar, very fast, comfortable and fun to ride. I took it easy, not taking any chances. I only had one tricky moment on the route. There was a waypoint on the road book that didn’t exist, and I wasted two or three minutes before I realized that it wasn’t there, and got going again.”
Austria’s Matthias Walkner, who like Price was riding his debut Dakar for KTM was forced to withdraw before the start of Wednesday’s special due to illness. Walkner has had an impressive first Dakar experience with many highs and lows. Almost always among the fastest riders, he comes away with a stage win and a reputation for fighting back hard from adverse situations.
The stage took riders back across the Andes and into Argentina as the rally turns east to head back to the finish in Buenos Aires at the weekend. The timed special started on the Salinas Grandes, more than 3600m above sea level and the liaison stage saw them climb to a staggering 4970 m to cross the mountains via the de L’ACay pass so both riders and bikes had to contend with the debilitating effects of altitude. Riders are not permitted any mechanical assistance or support from their teams at the halfway point of a marathon stage which will see them next take on stage eleven from Cachi to Termas Rio Honda over a total distance of 512 km, of which 351 km is timed special.
Stage Ten Dakar 2015 – Calama-Cachi Marathon Stage – Provisional Stage Results 520 km liaison, 371 km special (891 km) – first half of the second marathon stage
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