Chaleco defends his podium
WITH THE FOURTH PLACE IN TODAY'S STAGE, FRANCISCO LoPEZ MAINTAINS HIS THIRD POSITION OVERALL. ALAIN DUCLOS TAKES THE WRONG WAY AND MISSES A WAY POINT. TOMORROW, THE DAKAR WILL BE BACK TO BUENOS AIRES WITH THE LAST SPECIAL OF 181 KM.
CORDOBA- Dakar 2011 is almost over, only the last special stage of 181 km will be played tomorrow, without many difficulties. Today, Stage 12, was not a good opportunity to risk anything, still less when there is only one more day ahead. Sandy grounds in the first part and then, mud and water made a very hard stage and also the longest this year, with 555 km.
There was more to lose than to win today, reason why Francisco Lopez decided to be glad with the third place in the podium, letting go the two KTM riders that precede him on top of the ranking. At the same time, "Chaleco" controlled the gap between Helder Rodrigues, the only one that could have gotten in his way.
"Chaleco" finished the stage 4th, 10' from stage winner Marc Coma, and conceded only a few minutes to Rodrigues. The Chilean is third overall, and the Portuguese rider is 4th, 43' behind. Alain Duclos made a very expensive navigation mistake. In a road junction, he took the way that leaded to the trucks' track. For safety reasons, and as a proof of his maturity as a rider, he decided to avoid ridding in the opposite direction, so he continued in the same track and missed a way point. Gerard Farres made a race without forcing much, but it gave him results. The Spanish is 15th in the stage, while Alex Zanotti is 33rd.
Francisco Lopez: "It was a very hard stage, not only by the amount of km, but also for the difficulties of the mud on the track. Last year, these stages were fast, and this year they are very technical. Anyways, it is not worth to risk anything now; the third place in the podium is o.k. for me."
Alain Duclos: "I've never made an error like this before while running the Dakar. I was naive. It was the bifurcation and spectators were there, and I'd mistaken the note and took the trucks' track."