|Dakar 2010: Craziness for Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez at SS10.|
The Dakar continue its journey to the South with the tenth stage from La Serena, and the last portion of the Atacama Desert, to a bivouac about 40 kilometers from Santiago. The 238 km of the timed section were much richer in navigation, skids and dusty tracks.
Francisco López did take it calmly. He knew it wasn´t the special where he had to attack, and after he reached Despres, he decided to lower his rhythm and not to take unnecessary risks. At the end of the section, he marked the 5th time, slightly less than five minutes from today´s winner, Marc Coma.
There will be a big struggle in overall standings due to the small gaps between riders. If Despres continues his rally with no problems, the three riders that follow him are positioned within the next two minutes: Lopez is always 3rd, 1:18 from Ullevalseter, but there will also be a combat with the Portuguese Helder Rodrigues, who is only 52 seconds away from "Chaleco".
Paolo Ceci and Alex Zanotti also had an excellent day too finishing 17th and 19th. They found themselves in a terrain similar to Sardinia, where they are use to run for years. The dust didn´t allow them to overtake many riders, so they their pace was inevitably reduced. In overall standings, they both keep yesterday´s positions: 15th for Ceci and 21st for Zanotti.
Tomorrow the rally returns to Argentina though the Paso Los Libertadores, situated at 3500 m altitude, with the famous Aconcagua with his 6859 m peak as the background. A little after starting 220km of timed section riders will find themselves in altitude. The stage will finish in San Juan, at the feet of the Andes Mountains.
Francisco López: "Today I preferred to maintain a constant pace. There were so much people on the roads, and I felt the pressure. That is why after I approached to Despres, I decided not to take unnecessary risks. This was not a stage to take advantage. Tomorrow I´ll go fairly quiet."
Alex Zanotti: "The dust was terrible today. It was fast, except for the part that leaded to the mountain. I overtake one rider, but I realized that risks where to high, so I reduced the pace. In addition, my hand and shoulder still ache, even my ribs, but I have to keep up."
Paolo Ceci: "Today it was my special. Unfortunately I started 58th, and I had lots of people in front. I overtake thirty-two, including the Patronelli brothers, the fastest quad riders. I am sure that if I had started in a better position, I could have made it among the top 10. It was the terrain I like, but the dust acted as an unbreakable wall and I took a couple of risks."
2010/01/13 | 13:01 CET | Editor: MR/HS/E.Bauer