Cyril Despres backed up his rest day quote that he had nothing to lose by dominating the ninth stage of the Dakar to move to within 5m 23s of the overall lead. The factory KTM rider chose the longest and hardest stage of the 2013 Dakar to unleash a full 593km assault which saw him win the stage – his first of the race by 4m03s.
Speaking to MCN, Despres said: “It was a 12 hour day I started at 5.09 and got back to the bivouac at 17.09 it’s ok for me but I am a little bit afraid for the other competitors, because they will arrive late.
It was hard, 12 hours on the bike is never easy, but I was expecting this day and I have been preparing myself for six months in case I had to push hard. I know the terrain here in Cordoba from all the WRC I watch on TV. It’s something I like and I was able to enjoy it, push a little bit and the stage victory is not so bad.”
The stage victory was given even more significance following the news that race leader David Casteau had dislocated his shoulder after hitting a cow. He received heavy strapping at the end of the first part of the timed special, but is reported to have hit fuel problems in the second part.
Husqvarna man Juan Barreda claimed second place on his Speedbrain Husqvarna with Alessandro Buttori in third, Ruben Faria fourth and HRC rider Helder Rodriguez back on the pace in fifth.
Overall Faria now leads the Dakar and sits 5m 23s ahead of his factory KTM team-mate and number one rider Despres.