Despres Leads Dakar

Cycle News Staff | January 4, 2010

Red Bull KTM’s Cyril Despres has taken the overall lead of the Dakar Rally after dominating today’s stage from Fiambala to La Rioja in Argentina.

Despres topped Yamaha-mounted Helder Rodrigues by 10 minutes and 40 seconds today. More importantly, he beat Sherco’s David Casteu by 12 minutes and 13 seconds to take the lead in the overall standings. Casteu was fourth in today’s stage with BMW-mounted Paulo Goncalves finishing third.

With three stages in the books, Despres leads Casteu by 10 minutes and three seconds with Rodrigues moving into third, some 18 minutes behind.

Today’s stage was a further blow to defending champion Marc Coma’s chances as he suffered engine troubles on his factory KTM and lost 21 minutes to Despres. Coma is now ninth overall.

Today’s stage marked the end of the road for KTM’s Jordi Viladoms as he crashed at the 43-mile mark and suffered a neck injury, though the injury is not feared to be serious. Viladoms, however, was complaining of neck pain and withdrew from the rally.

American Jonas Street continues to climb up the standings. Street ended up sixth today and is now eighth overall.

Yesterday’s stage winner David Fretigne ended up 44th today, losing an hour and 35 minutes and dropping him to 21st overall.