Michael Metge thwarted all the navigational traps at the start of the stage to win in San Juan, 55 seconds ahead of Joan Barreda, but Sam Sunderland is even more comfortably installed as leader of the bike category.
With 449 km of special stage between Chilecito and San Juan as well as only two stages to make the difference in the general standings, the tension ramped up another notch today; all the more so since the trial-like start to the stage really tested the physical capabilities of the competitors, at least as much as the hot weather, which made its return to the race after the cool temperatures at higher altitude. The end of the day was marked by much quicker tracks, but just as tricky navigation, which led to dramatic turns of events in the general standings…
On his fourth Dakar, and after having demonstrated some fine capacities since the start in Asuncion, Michael Metge finally picked up his first stage victory, by a whisker in front of his team leader Joan Barreda, but far ahead of Matthias Walkner and Sam Sunderland as well as the French duo of Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier de Soultrait, who both made big time losses.
- SUNDERLAND, Sam (GBR)
- WALKNER, Matthias (AUT) +30:01 QUINTANILLA, Pablo (CHL) +20:58
- FARRES, Guell Gerard (ESP) +38:43 VAN BEVEREN, Adrien (FRA) +28:49
- VAN BEVEREN, Adrien (FRA) +41:57
- BARREDA BORT, Joan (ESP) +53:47
- RENET, Pierre Alexandre (FRA) +55:24m
- GONÇALVES, Paulo (PRT) +01hour:00m:11s
- DE SOULTRAT, Xavier (FRA) +01hour:32m:55s
- METGE, Michael (FRA) +01hour:35m:33s
- CAIMI, Franco (ARG) +01hour:37m:57s
21. SMITH, Todd (AUS) +03hour:03m:43s
51. HART, Matthew (AUS) +09hour:14m:10s
Yesterday’s cancelled stage…