Stage 7 – Le Paz to Uyuni, 302km liaison, 425km special stage
Joan Barreda continued his impressive fightback by taking the Stage 7 win onboard his factory Honda this afternoon. But despite the victory that saw him claw back valuable minutes to the leaders he arrived at the Uyuni bivouac in serious pain after suffering a high speed crash three quarters of the way through the timed special stage.
At the end of the stage, Barreda spoke about pain but also the fact that he has lost all stability in his left knee, which suggests he has done some serious damage.
MORE DAKAR NEWS
Before heading to the medical tent for treatment he said: “I started the day pushing really hard and I felt fast and had a good rhythm but at KM 300 I had a big crash and I think that I have broken my knee. I had to slow down and for sure I lost a lot of time because of the pain. I have no stability in my knee and in the left corners I could not put my foot on the ground. We will see now how it reacts, but it is very complicated.”
There were rumours on Saturday evening that Barreda may have to pull out of the remainder of the event, but if he does start stage eight, he will have the added complication of stage seven being the first part of the Marathon stage, which means there are no teams or mechanics in Uyuni and the riders have to do any maintenance themselves. It also means that riders have to take care of their bikes and tyres as they will have to use the same tyre again on tomorrows 585km stage.
It was another good day for official Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren who was the only rider that had any kind of answer to the blistering pace set by Barreda. The 26 year old Frenchman lost just 2m 51s to Barreda but significantly beat overall leader Kevin Benavides by 5m 11s. Which means Van Beveren has now regained the lead of Dakar by a not insignificant 3m 14s.
Speaking to MCN, Van Beveren said: “I had a good stage, Barreda passed me and he was super fast. I stayed with him for 30km, but then I said ‘no’ because he was full gas. For me it was too much risk, risk that I don’t want to take. The goal for sure is to go fast, but it is also to stay on two wheels.
“My bike is going well and it feels good to be leading overall. We have improved it a lot over the last year because before we had no special setting for the altitude and now it is better. I’m surprised how good my tyre rear looks after today and it’ll be good for tomorrow.”
Results Stage 7
- Joan Barreda ESP Honda 5h11m10s
- Adrien Van Beveren FRA Yamaha +2m51s
- Kevin Benavides ARG Honda +8m02
- Toby Price AUS KTM +8m43s
- Pablo Quintanilla CHI Husqvarna +8m53s
Overall results at the end of stage 7
- Adrien Van Beveren FRA Yamaha 21h49m18s
- Kevin Benavides ARG Honda +3m14s
- Joan Barreda ESP Honda +4m45s
- Matthias Walkner AUT KTM +8m18s
- Toby Price AUS KTM +13m34s
Have a browse for your next bike on MCN Bikes For Sale website or use the MCN's Bikes For Sale App.