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Lots to be lost, little to be won

Uyuni (Bolivia) – Caution and prudence were the main consignments from Miguel Puertas for his riders before the start of the seventh stage in La Paz (Bolivia). The torrential rains during the previous days had made the terrain unsurpassable and the organization was forced to significantly reduce the stage, keeping a majority of fast tracks, some dune sections and a lot of mud. This, on top of it being the first half of the marathon stage, in which riders cannot receive technical assistance at the finish line and must take care of the bike themselves, meant that all team riders tackled this stage very cautiously; there was a lot to be lost, and very little to be won.

On very slippery terrain, Gerard Farrés made use of his experience and did not put his fourth place up for grabs. The Manresa native held a good pace, catching two of the riders in front of him, Argentinian Caimí and Spanish Pedrero, and was not overtaken by any of the riders following him; This way, Farrés secured 12th place in the stage, enabling him to remain fourth overall despite losing some time with respect to his main competitors for the podium.

The next best finish in the team was for Iván Cervantes, who made up several positions from starting 42nd, finishing the stage in 25th position. “Torito” is regaining his confidence after a rather ill-fated first half of the rally due to a mechanical issue and a mistake in navigation which cost him numerous minutes.

Antonio Gimeno and Dani Oliveras followed their team manager’s directions closely, and took every precaution to get through this marathon stage without any troubles and avoid having a busy night in Uyuni. The Catalan and Madrid native came across the finish in 35th and 36th but kept a strong mindset towards the tough test which will bring tomorrow’s eigth stage. For this purpose, the two squires packed their bikes with strategically placed tools and spare parts; brake and shift levers, filters, chains… and a basic tool kit capable of disassembling the whole bike, which is attached to the chassis with zip ties in case there is any issue to be solved during the stage or at night. Just like Antonio and Dani, all the Himoinsa Racing Team riders have received specific preparation with advanced mechanical skills to be able to overcome any obstacles on their way.

After spending the night in the Uyuni barracks, the Dakar survivors will face the longest stage so far, with 492 km of descent towards Argentina and complicated sections due to fords and sand dunes, and the potential of being a decisive stage… like all of them.

Stage

12th Farres 12:22 behind

25th Cervantes 23:04 behind

35th Gimeno 28:25 behind

36th Oliveras 31:30 behind

104th Rosa Romero 2:32:48 behind

Overall

4th Farres 28:36 behind

21st Oliveras 2:11:48 behind

24th Cervantes 2:15:31 behind

26th Gimeno 2:48:24 behind

97th Rosa Romero 11:46:40 behind