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Dakar 2007: Gauloises-KTM riders after stage 9 to Nema.

It was privateer rider Janis Vinters who was fastest today, ahead of Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) with Marc Coma third. David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) was 7th with Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 8th. Frans Verhoeven (Gauloises KTM) ran into mechanical problems just after the start this morning and is currently being helped out by his rapid assistance. Overall Coma preserves his lead over Despres by 54’36 with Casteu third (at 54’36).

Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 2nd (at 7’31) 2nd overall (at 54’36): "The electric motor on my road book reader wasn’t working from the start this morning, which meant I had to wind the road book on by hand. To do that I obviously had to let go of the handlebars with my left hand - which isn’t ideal when you are racing across the desert. It meant I had to concentrate very hard and am consequently quite tired after a ‘mere’ 494 km. Still I didn’t have any big crashes - just a little one that bent my handlebars - and am pleased with my finishing position today. My hands are a little bit swollen but apart from that I am feeling fine. Overall there isn’t much change but as Frans’ (Verhoeven) problems showed I don’t think anyone will know the result of this race until we are on the beach in Dakar."

Isidre Esteve (Gauloises KTM) 8th (at 19’07): "It was hard over the first part of the special to overtake the slower riders in the dust and then at km 40 I had a problem with my bike that took me 10 minutes or so to sort out. Last night was a marathon bivouac and it was our rapid assistance truck that changed my engine in difficult circumstances, so that was probably the cause. Then 50 km from the end I came across Gio (Sala) who had fallen. He was with Bethys and Rodrigues so I didn’t stop for long. It was difficult to find my rythme today after yesterday’s disappointment but hopefully I will be able to get back into the race tomorrow."

David Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 7th (at 15’53) 3rd (at 1.11’15): After what happened yesterday to Isidre I decided to take it very easy today. Marc is too far in the lead to worry about and for me a place on the podium will do just fine. My main concerns are to avoid any mechanical problems and manage my lead over the man behind me, Chris Blais. This morning he was about 31 minutes back overall and this evening about 27. I just need to keep an eye on him and concentrate on getting to Lac Rose."

2007/01/15 | 20:01 CET | Editor: MR/hs

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