Roma Takes Over Dakar

Paul Carruthers | January 8, 2004

With the overall leader of the Dakar Rally heading into stage eight – Cyril Despres – losing over an hour after accidentally unplugging his GPS system and ultimately running out of gas, Repsol KTM’s Nani Roma is the new leader of the race.

Roma, Jean Brucy and Richard Sainct ended up batting for the duration of the 220-miles stage with Despres’s effort coming unglued.

“It was the worst day of my life,” Despres said in a team release. “I had problems with my glasses so I decided to stop but fell at a very slow pace, pulling out the GPS connection with my knee. I couldn’t reconnect it, so I got lost.” Noma, meanwhile, caught and passed Sainct Brucy to win the stage by six minutes, and that was enough to give him the overall lead – eight minutes ahead of Sainct with Brucy six minutes further back in third. Alfie Cox is 51 minutes behind in fourth.

Former overall leader Isidre Esteve was fourth today despite starting the stage in 89th place.

And how about that Scot Harden? Harden, the team manager of the American Red Bull KTM team, ended today sixth and is now up to ninth overall. His teammates, Paul Krause and Larry Roeseler, finished 20th and 25th today, respectively. Krause is now 20th overall with LR sitting in 24th

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.