Dakar: Stage Seven

Paul Carruthers | January 12, 2007

 While Gauloises KTM’s Cyril Despres was speeding to victory in today’s wind-shortened stage seven of the Dakar Rally, the man who is battling him for fourth in the overall standings – American Chris Blais – showed true sportsmanship in stopping to aid a fallen rider, a move that ended up costing him dearly in the overall standings.

Despres topped Pal Anders Ullevalseter in today’s stage by two minutes and 46 seconds while Blais ended the stage in 12th place, losing almost 31 minutes to Despres while stopping to help Jordi Viladoms, the Spaniard breaking his arm in a crash on his Repsol KTM just a day after winning his first-ever stage of the Rally. Blais stopped and waited with Viladoms until help arrived, but he’s now dropped to fifth again in the overall standings after losing valuable time to Despres, who moves to fourth overall.

Repsol KTM’s Marc Coma, meanwhile, continues to lead the rally overall after finishing sixth in today’s stage, one spot behind his teammate and the man who lies second in the overall, Isidre Esteve. Coma leads Esteve by 10 minutes and 47 seconds.

Third place overall is still held by David Casteu, the Frenchman who finished third in today’s stage. Then comes Despres and Blais in fourth and fifth, respectively.

American Casey McCoy ended today’s stage in 56th place with Steve Laroza ending up 103rd – one spot better than countryman Chris Jones.

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.