“Frankly, this stage was superb. Over the last two days, we have had wonderful moments making history. Coming down from the dunes, my ears were blocked because I was going downhill so fast.” – Alain Duclos
Stage 10 began with a delay/course modification and ended with Jordi Viladoms running away with the win after the early leaders went in the wrong direction. This mistake took Marc Coma, Cyril Despres and Francisco Lopez 23 km in the wrong direction, allowing late starters to benefit. Viladoms, Alain Duclos, and Helder Rodrigues claimed the top three spots, the second stage win for Viladoms in his Dakar career.
Heavy fog caused a start delay and the low lift level of the sand caused a course modification, cutting today’s long special to 423 km. Despite the course modification the terrain would prove difficult to navigate. Early starters posted quick times, but Coma made a navigation error after misinterpreting a note, causing the leaders to go on a 23 km loop to get back on course. Although this error did cost the Spaniard some time, it didn’t hurt his overall standings since all the leaders went off course together and didn’t gain any time on Coma. The stage win did help Viladoms move up a spot in the overall standings to fourth-place with Lopez losing four places, dropping to eighth overall.
Stage 10 ended with a special announcement from the Dakar.com website that Cristobal Guerrero fell at kilometer 160 and was taken by medical chopper at 1:06 p.m. He has been rushed to Copiapo Hospital where he is currently in a coma.
Check out the Stage 10 video highlights.
Cancellation of Stage 11
Stage 11 has been canceled due to heavy fog conditions forcasted throughout the stage. It cannot be delayed due to the crossing of the Andes and the crossing of the border between Chile and Argentina. The section between Copiapo and Fiambala should have been timed but the riders will be getting to the Fiambala bivouac in liaison.
The Stage 10 win for Viladoms solidified his standing in the top five with a 10 minute lead over fifth-place, but he has a long way to go to catch Despres.
Jordi Viladoms (Esp – KTM) – 1st, 4th OA
A very strange, amazing day! I arrived at the first refuelling in more or less the position I expected. So I was very surprised, not to say a little concerned, to see that at the second refuelling Marc (Coma) wasn’t there. Much to my relief, he arrived two minutes later, with Cyril (Despres) and Chaleco (Lopez). On leaving the refuelling CP Alain (Duclos) and I waited for our respective riders and then all four of us rode through the camel grass together – a lot of fun. Then, not far from the end, we couldn’t find the waypoint. We headed off up this huge dune, more like a mountain, to get to it and in the process all split up. I started to get worried again and then two dunes later I saw an orange bike in the distance and fortunately it was Marc – a big relief.
Marc Coma (Esp – KTM) – 7th, 1st OA
We left the bivouac at about 6 this morning, but because of the fog and the fact that the helicopters couldn’t fly, we didn’t start till 10. Then this evening we didn’t get back to 17.30 – it was a very long day – and quite a stressful one! Everything was going fine until we got lost after the refuelling CP and lost about 20 minutes Then nearly at the end we struggled to find a waypoint and had to ride through some pretty soft sand. If yesterday resembled Morocco today was a bit like Mauritania.
“It got really complicated with navigation. I misinterpreted a note and lost a lot of time. Then I found the right pace in the part I found the most difficult part to ride in my entire life.” – Marc Coma
Cyril Despres (Fra – KTM) – 6th, 3rd OA
It was such a crazy day it is difficult to explain exactly what happened – even I am not sure, and I was there! Understandably Marc stayed very close to me all day. The problem was that when I went wrong he still stayed with me. If he’d disappeared from my ‘rear view mirror’ I would have realised my mistake a lot sooner. When we finally got to the refuelling Marc, Chaleco and I all had a good laugh about it. Then right at the end we went our separate ways and I was amazed to find myself all alone at the finish line. I kept asking people ‘are you sure nobody else has been through’.
Alain Duclos (Fra – KTM) – 2nd, 44th OA
A fantastic stage! Until the second refuelling I rode in ‘economy mode’ to protect the tyre and then hooked up with Cyril, Marc, Jordi and Chaleco. Towards the finish Cyril set up off up this dune that was more like a mountain and we chased after him. It all became a bit chaotic. Jordi and I tried to stay with our riders. I saw a big crowd in the distance and thought it must be the finish line – if it had been I might have won the special!
Stage 9 Results:
1. VILADOMS (ESP) KTM 06:35:26
2.DUCLOS (FRA) KTM 06:36:32
3. ULLEVALSETER (NOR) KTM 06:37:33
4. RODRIGUES (PRT) KTM 06:43:55
5. CASTEU (FRA) KTM 06:44:10
6. DESPRES (FRA) KTM 06:44:16
7. COMA (ESP) KTM 06:47:43
8. KNUIMAN (NLD) KTM 06:51:11
9. VERHOEVEN (NLD) KTM 06:55:59
10. VISSER (NLD) KTM 06:59:30
1. COMA (ESP) KTM 43:52:30
2. FRETIGNE (FRA) YAMAHA 45:17:20
3. DESPRES (FRA) KTM 45:23:41
4. VILADOMS (ESP) KTM 45:49:10
5. RODRIGUES (PRT) KTM 45:58:08
6. CASTEU (FRA) KTM 46:00:15
7. ULLEVALSETER (NOR) KTM 46:04:12
8. LOPEZ (CHL) KTM 46:14:53
9. VERHOEVEN (NLD) KTM 46:18:04
10. KNUIMAN (NLD) KTM 46:56:55