Despres Wins Stage, Roma Still Leads

Paul Carruthers | January 9, 2004

Cyril Despres won today’s 458-mile stage nine of the Dakar Rally, the KTM rider topping Alfie Cox by three minutes and 24 seconds.

Nani Roma (pictured), however, is still the overall leader of the rally, the Spaniard finishing seventh today to hold a three minute and 33 second overall lead over Richard Sainct, the Frenchman having finished third in today’s stage.

Isidre Esteve was fourth today after the disaster of yesterday and the previous rally leader is now 17th overall. Cox’s effort today leaves him third in the overall standings, ahead of Despres and Palanders Ullevalseter, who finished fifth in today’s stage.

American Larry Roeseler ended today in 12th place, moving him to 15th overall. His Red Bull KTM teammate Paul Krause had yet to finish the stage as of this posting and, as we reported earlier, team manager Scot Harden suffered a broken ankle early in the stage and has withdrawn from the race. Harden was well inside the top 10 overall at the time of his accident.

Jean Brucy is the latest to withdraw from the event, the Frenchman having suffered a broken shoulder in today’s stage.

The organizers of the Dakar Rally have also announced change to the two of the stages. The release from them is as follows…

For security reasons concerning the rally and the competitors, the organization feels it is necessary to modify the 10th and 11th stages between Nema and Mopti and between Mopti and Bobo Dioulasso. Both stages have been cancelled and replaced by a liaison all the way to Bamako and then to Bobo Dioulasso.

The liaison to Bamako will be free for all vehicles except for the bikers who will be flying there by plane. For the liaison to Bobo Dioulasso, all competitors will have a free liaison.

This decision has been taken in accordance with the Mali and French authorities.

The rally will therefore stop on Saturday the 10th of January in Bamako and will head to Bobo Dioulasso on Sunday the 11th. A rest day will be staged there as planned.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.