A hard start
AFTER A LONG ROAD CONNECTION AND A SPECIAL STAGE OF ALMOST 200 KM LOPEZ HAS FINISHED 7TH, WHILE BARREDA FELL AND DUCLOS HAD A TECHNICAL PROBLEM. GOOD RACING DAY FOR ZANOTTI AND FARRES.
CORDOBA -- After the stress of the days before the race, the 33rd version of the Dakar has started for real. The difficulties of the stage were not really on the timed section, a special stage of 192km, but in the long transfer that took the riders to Rio Cuarto, the start of the stage. The first bikes left the bivouac of Victoria at 4.20 a.m.
The special stage was over a very fast road in the beginning, followed by mountain routes much more technical. It was a warm-up stage for Francisco Lopez, who didn't want to force his pace and enter the race progressively. "Chaleco" finished in the 7th position, 3'14'' from the stage winner, Ruben Faria.
Also Gerard Farres didn't take risks, playing his role of water carrier perfectly. The Catalonian had a good day of riding and finished the stage in the 17th position, 9 minutes from the winner.
Alex Zanotti arrived in the 27th position. The Italian had a small problem with the brake that couldn't reach the bottom.
Joan Barreda fell at a high speed and was injured on the arm. He is now in the Medical Center for a checkup.
The race didn't have a good start for Alain Duclos. The French-Malian rider torn the back wheel and hasn't left the timed section yet.
Tomorrow, the second stage will be another long day. After 400 km of road connection, bikes will have a timed section of 300 km. The first bike will leave at 5.30 a.m. and the go for the special stage will be given at 7.15.
Francisco Lopez: "It was an optimal day, considering that I haven't forced anything and I'm only 3 minutes away, so it's a good start. Most of all, today I wanted to be sure that the bike is working well, looking forward to the next days that will be harder and harder."
Alex Zanotti: "There were lots of dust and I didn't want to risk anything. Then, I had a problem with the rear brake, so I decided to ride prudently."
Gerard Farres: "A good start, perfect day to get in the mood of the race. I have to do my best and do not take risks to stay always in the best conditions to help 'Chaleco' in case he needs it."