As young boy, Cyril Despres would watch the hordes of motorcycles, trucks and various forms of racecars that make up the Paris-Dakar Rally move through his town in France en route to the start of the race. The rally would then disappear to the African continent, but it was in France long enough to make those who raced in the world's toughest rally heroes throughout Europe.
The young Despres liked what he saw and set a path toward one day winning the race.
But wins in Dakar don't come easy. As is the case with the Isle of Man TT, winning the Dakar often requires years of practice. You need experience, a strong team and a strong teammate (a "domestique" or water boy) that has your back no matter what to even get you to the point of being competitive. From there you need to race quickly across the desert and over mountains... without getting lost. And you do it again and again for two weeks until compiling some 5000 miles. It's a race where navigation is key.
For the complete interview, click on the following link to go to this week's Cycle News...