Stage Seven, Part I - Ouarzazate to Tan Tan BIKES Alfie Cox 'I remember most of this stage from last year. You are either going to crash, break or set a good time. I did not want to break the bike so I eased off and it worked. There is always...
Stage Seven, Part I - Ouarzazate to Tan Tan
'I remember most of this stage from last year. You are either going to crash, break or set a good time. I did not want to break the bike so I eased off and it worked. There is always the temptation to attack, but I was behind Meoni in all the dust and I just couldn't let myself try and get passed. It isn't a matter of surviving these sections. Just when I thought it was time to push, there would be a wadi or a jump and you would say to yourself slow down and don't do it. I passed Tiainen with a broken wheel and that could have been me. To win this Dakar I have got to ride sensibly and not have any problems. We haven't even got to the camel grass yet and I can see the 'twins' having a real problem. Meoni and Sala will be working twice as hard with the bike.'
Carlo de Gavardo
'I started sixth. Today was very important for me. There was a lot of dust and I had to concentrate on the route and the road book. There were a few jumps, which were not on the road book and you could not see them. Some of them were very high and I nearly crashed. I had to overtake the riders in front of me, but not Roma, because he was going quite fast. It was a very interesting stage, dangerous and fast.
'Not bad at all. I started behind Arcarons. I passed him and Tiainen had a problem. I have ridden more than 200 km alone without taking risks, but at a good speed.'
'This year, there are some short stages which are very fast. Me, I prefer the longer sections, more tiring but less reliant on speed and more on the physical fitness and mental concentration. The stage today was bad, dangerous, I don't like this terrain. Each time I pass here I try to simply arrive at the finish without having a problem.'
'Leaving at eleven this evening, it is completely stupid to arrive in the middle of the night at the start of the special stage. I don't have any equipment to sleep and, honestly, it is dangerous to race at night. There are many vehicles without lights. It is uninteresting, but these are the new regulations.'
'I am very pleased with everything. The car is okay and we are going well. Mauritania will be a challenge. I am happy with my pace and I will keep up this speed. Tonight will be tough. I must start again at around two in the morning. But it''s not too bad. I have eight hours maybe to sleep.'
'I have the same problem as yesterday. 80 kms from the end of the stage the power steering failed. Last night we changed the pump, but it happened again. It meant I could not push. I don't know if I have a hotel, but I like the Marathon stage idea. Now I will sleep. If I have a tent it is not a problem.'