|Dakar Rally 2014: Uyuni takes over as the Motobike capital of the Dakar.|
Sunday was the first ever Dakar stage in Bolivia. The motorcycles and quads will spend the night at 3,700 meters in Uyuni during this foray into the altiplano. The Bolivian adventure continued on Monday, when the field sets off for stage 8 into Chile. Rally director Etienne Lavigne and President Evo Morales highlighted the resounding success of this new chapter in the history of the Dakar.
Against the Spartan, naked backdrop of the canvas set up inside the barracks of the Uyuni Infantry Regiment, President of Bolivia Evo Morales and Dakar director Etienne Lavigne gave their first impressions on the race's arrival on Bolivian soil. Etienne Lavigne emphasised the great success of the first day: "I'm a bit short of breath, that's for sure, but I'm also short of words to describe what we saw today. 350,000 people is a massive crowd for this edition, but also for the entire history of the Dakar."
With all the bunting and flags, the festive atmosphere in this small town with 16,000 inhabitants that has been flooded by spectators from all over the country projected the image of an enthusiastic, open and friendly Bolivia. Such passion for the Dakar is a rare sight. A passion that, in the words of the President of the Bolivian Republic, transcended differences within society.
For Evo Morales, the Dakar's first day in Bolivia was "a day of sport, a day of integration, a day on which the whole world looks towards Bolivia". The Bolivian President knew what he was talking about, as he had decided to live the Dakar experience by watching from the air as the first competitors covered the last few kilometers before the finish, and then went to the finish line of Sunday's special, where he saw first-hand the popular craze about the Dakar.
Thousands of fans came to Noel Mariaca, where the timed section ended, flying the Bolivian flag and cheering on the competitors as they went by. The image of Evo Morales mingling with the crowd at the finish will be remembered as one of the defining moments of the race.
Inside the town, the narrow streets were packed with people, with only a few ropes extended along the pavements separating the crowds from the podium and the competitor area. Uyuni showed what it means to love and respect sport, while Evo Morales also saw a generous, united people cheer everybody on.
As he put it, "I've seen miners come from their cooperatives, I've seen natives in their costumes, I've seen a country springing into action with all its institutions, I've seen a joyous people. We'll never forget this."
Bikes overall results after SS07 Salta - Uyuni/Bolivia 401 km
||Coma, Marc (ES)
||Barreda Bort, Joan (ES)
||Viladoms, Jordi (ES)
||Duclos, Alain (F)
||Israel Esquerre, Jeremias (CHL)
||Pain, Olivier (F)
||Przygonski, Jakub (PL)
||Rodrigues, Helder (PT)
||Casteu, David (F)
||Despres, Cyril (F)
View all results: Please [ CLICK HERE ]
2014/01/14 | 05:01 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/ASO