Dakar: Barreda claws back to the front with dominant win

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Joan Barreda has clawed his way back to the front in the 2017 Dakar Rally after a bad day yesterday, taking a dominant win on the third stage to now lead Brit Sam Sunderland by a whopping eleven minutes.

The Monster Energy Honda rider lost time yesterday after backing off in the final stages of the stage after a close encounter with a cow, but controlled a tricky two-part stage on day three that saw the contenders climb nearly four kilometres as well as racing for 364km to boot.

“Today was one of the days that we picked and we prepared for it from yesterday to attack. I was lucky and I did a good job. It was a really tough stage but I kept my focus during all the stage, so I am really happy with the work. It’s still too early to talk about winning. There are still seven thousand five hundred kilometres to go. I’m not sure. This situation, this year is different than other years, so, for sure, we just need to keep focused and to keep riding like this.”

Brit Sunderland was a strong second as he sets out to make his mark on the race this year, while Paulo Goncalves made it a strong day for Honda in third, ahead of Husqvarna rider Pablo Quintanilla and defending champion Toby Price, now 17 minutes off the leader.

Lyndon Poskitt was again the top of the non-factory Brits in 51st, and it was a good day all round for them with only David Watson out of the top one hundred in 109th, with Max Hunt and Kurt Burroughs running 77th and 96th respectively.

Tomorrow’s stage through Bolivia will be at an average altitude of 3500m, testing out the riders’ fitness as well as seeing their navigation skills come into play as the first of this year’s sand dunes make an appearance.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer