STAGE 2: Roberto Bou wins the stage
April 29 th 2019 - 15:42 [GMT + 1]
- Navigation, dunes, extreme heat… the MTB riders experienced a stage that reminds one of the Dakar in its African period
- A really hard Garmin stage, and the first part a marathon stage, with a solo victory by Roberto Bou and a change of leader
- Anna Ramírez also won the second stage in the women’s category, increasing her advantage over Ramona Gabriel
Ouzina, 29 April 2019. A really hard and crazy stage today in the Garmin Titan Desert. For the first time ever, the riders reached the spectacular setting of Ouzina. And the beauty of the landscape conditioned the stage, which saw a spectacular battle.
Today several ingredients came together to create an explosive combination: extreme heat, sand, lots of dunes and the first part of the marathon stage, in which the riders have to carry everything they need for the night and the next morning. Also, a Garmin stage, in which the organizers do not provide tracks to the participants, only seven coordinates that they must pass through. Furthermore, the start is given individually for the 20 top ranked riders in the men’s category and the first 3 in the women’s, in reverse order to their classification and every 30 seconds.
The stage was really tricky for all the competitors. Joan Pedrero, the motorbike rider who has completed the Dakar 11 times and is used to the most extreme weather conditions, said “it has been the most Dakar-like stage I have ever experienced. So many dunes, a lot of heat… it reminded me of the African stages”.
Despite everything, Roberto Bou took advantage of his great form to win the stage 4’30” ahead of Pau Salvà and more than 5’30” of Josep Betalú. The rider of the TBelles Team Cannondale had suffered a lot on the first day due to a problem with a foot, but he shrugged that aside with this win that takes him up the general classification and leaves him seventh, 13 minutes off the leader.
Pau Salvà, second today, is the new leader of the Garmin Titan Desert and leads Betalú by 1’01” and Guillem Muñoz by 2’32”.
Roberto Bou: “After the problem with my foot yesterday I had to attack and it worked out well. I rode the whole stage alone. It was a 100% Titan stage with a lot of dunes and navigation and we had to only take the absolute minimum with us to spend the night. I am travelling very light, with just one mat, let’s see what the night is like”.
As for the women, three stood out in the stage; Anna Ramírez, Ramona Gabriel and Núria Picas. They rode together until Núria made a mistake when crossing the dunes and lost track of the race leaders. Anna Ramírez got her calculator out today. She started one minute behind Gabriel, and once she caught up with her she stayed on Ramona’s tail… so much so that the two favourites for the final victory crossed the line hand in hand. Anna Ramírez has an advantage over Ramona Gabriel of just under two minutes in the general ranking, and both are well ahead of the third-placed rider.
Anna Ramírez: “It has been a very difficult and hard stage. I was clear in my mind that I had to catch up with Ramona early one, as she set off a minute earlier. Once I caught up with her, we rode together until the finish”.