Sixth Dakar stage cancelled
The snow forced to close the San Francisco pass between Argentina and Chile through the Andes, and the organizers decided to cancel the stage
The bad weather conditions in the area where the Dakar is taking place has forced the organizers to cancel the sixth stage that had to be held today between Fiambalá and Copiapó. The caravan crossed the Andes through a link of nearly 400 kilometres to go from Argentina to Chile, after crossing the Paso de San Francisco at 4700 metres altitude.
The degradation of the route due to the snow and rain, that yesterday forced to reduce the stage by nearly 80 kilometres, made the organizers decided that the participants should do today's route in convoy, cancelling the stage that had to start after crossing the frontier. With that the decision, the classification has not changed today and Coma is in second position, 9 minutes and 51 seconds behind the leader, while Joan Pedrero is eighth, 59 minutes and 4 seconds behind the first.
Competition will resume tomorrow with a 573 kilometres route, 419 of them timed, in a ring with start and end in Copiapó, that will marc the halfway of the race. It will be a great challenge before the resting day; after several hundred kilometres, the participants will face a last stretch of 66 kilometres of dunes, which will test every participant endurance.
"The cancellation of the stage does not benefit you, because it means that there will be 250 km less and so less possibilities to recover time. Anything that means less kilometres and the race being less complicated is worse for me.
"What I need is a difficult race, with many competitive kilometres and then I will have to do them well, but if we don't have that chance, it will be very difficult".
"Bad luck. The stage was cancelled and that's not good for us, as we have less stages to work with Marc [Coma], to help him try to win, but the safety of the participants is also important.
"Things like that complicate the race a bit more every day, but we are optimist and we will do our best to keep going and Marc keeps having a chance for victory".