Konny Looser takes the first stage of 2021 Titan Desert

Garmin Titan Desert 2021 | Stage 1 | Boumalne Dades > Boumalne Dades
October 10 th 2021 - 15:39

  • The Swiss cyclist sprints to victory in one of the most spectacular stages in Titan Desert’s history: “The landscapes today have been some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen”, he said.
  • 100 kilometers with climbs, rivers, canyon passes… A tough stage that has put all riders to the test.

Juan Porcar, Titan Desert MTB marathon stage race inventor, said to participants on the plane to Ouarzazate and later in the pre-race press conference: “We’ve prepared the best Titan Desert in history”.

And the first stage has truly proved RPM Sports president.

100 kilometers full of obstacles, amazing landscapes, dromedaries, water flows, rivers and a canyon that will remain forever as part of the most iconic images of this great mountain-biking adventure. A tremendously beautiful stage, but also very hard. Spaniard Roberto Bou, one of the riders to fight for the overall, will not enjoy the 16th Titan Desert. The young ace crashed just 500 meters ahead of the stage start point and an elbow break has forced him to withdraw. This is also part of Titan Desert legend.

Another setback has left 4-time Titan Desert winner, Josep Betalú, with no chances to become the only rider with five Titan Desert wins. A nail on the track pierced his bike’s rear tyre and when he was repairing it, the tyre valve got broken. “One of my teammates lend me one of his tyres, but riding was everything but easy. Brakes were working non-stop! I changed all brake pads, but it didn’t work out. It’s been an incredible oddyssey…but finally I decided to take it easy. There’s nothing I can do when such things happen. I’ve had a rather misfortuned season full of crashes, injuries… It’s been my worst season so far. Now my goal is enjoying this Titan Desert…from another point of view”, said Josep Betalú when reaching the camp more than half an hour later than the stage winner.

A stage for Titan Desert history

“The landscapes today have been some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. This area is really wonderful and it’s been an incredible stage”, said Swiss Konny Looser, the stage winner. The Swiss ace had never been to Titan Desert before, but he was eager to live this unique experience. “I was a bit nervous on the days before the race. Everything is new to me and this is a great adventure. I am all alone here. I do not have a mechanic nor any kind of assistance and I don’t know anyone. Navigation in the desert scares me too, as I have always followed marked courses and I am afraid of getting lost” he said..

Exciting time

The most emotional moment of the day came when Ramona Gabriel, stage winner in the elite women’s class, crossed the finish line on her Lapierre bike and burst into tears. “I want to dedicate this stage win to my mother, as I don’t know if I will be able to win more stages later on in the race. My mother would be very happy and proud. She was a great Titan Desert follower and passed away a year ago. That’s why this win is so special for me”.
Ramona Gabriel set quite a gap with respect to her female rivals. She crossed the finish line 4 minutes ahead of Ariadna Ródenas, second, and 12 minutes ahead of Anna Jordens, third.

The Skoda Challenge

The Skoda Challenge, a short and timed segment on the stage course with a demanding climb gradient, took place in this first stage. The fastest riders were stage winners Konny Looser and Ramona Gabriel in the men’s and women’s class respectively. As a result, both riders get a 60-second bonus of time reduction to be applied on the race overall standings.
Tomorrow’s stage is expected to be as wonderful as today’s. The longest stage (127 kms) in the 2021 Titan Desert will take all these adventure lovers from Boumalne Dades to Ait Yahya. A mountain stage with two uphill sections and two downhill sections along the Moroccan Sahro, which will be crossed southbound. Titans will ride across lunar landscapes, breath-taking cliffs and steep ridges. Time again for the epic, as the stage layout will be a major challenge for all competitors and won’t leave anyone indifferent.

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