|AD Desert Challenge: Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez surfes between the dunes.|
The oven of the desert of Rub Al Kahli welcomed the riders among its sinuous dunes today for the second stage of the Desert Challenge. There were 305km of an underworld, all dunes and sand accompanied by a temperature around 45 degrees Celcius. It was the first real and tiring stage of the Desert Challenge, and the average speed of the day was less than 70km/h.
Francisco Lopez has started second this morning, two minutes behind Marc Coma and after 40km he has reached the Spaniard, riding along with him for a long portion of the stage, mostly opening the way. Only in the final, the opening duo was met by James West, and the fast South African rider who lives in the UAE, Sean Gaugain. The four riders finished together, and the best time was obviously for Gaugain, who started fourteen minutes after Coma.
Chaleco obtained the 3rd place of the day, twelve minutes behind the winner, but most important, he has taken back two minutes from the leader of the race, who was fifth of the day. Lopez has gained an additional minute even over David Casteu, one of his direct rivals in the 450 class.
"It was a very hard stage; drive between these dunes with such a high temperature is not simple" Lopez told. "After 40km I reached Coma and we have continued together for a long time of the stage. I opened the way almost all the stage, and then Gaugain arrived as a lightening with West and they crossed the finish line at the same time. Today, my Aprilia has done a great job, and even if the dunes were very demanding, it was very easy to ride."
The overall ranking is leaded by Coma, three minutes over Lopez, while Gaugain, the dune´s specialist who knows them as if they were his own backyard, occupies the 3rd place, 1´2´´ behind the Chilean rider.
2010/03/29 | 22:16 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/BAUER