Monster Honda’s Ricky Brabec won today’s third Dakar stage by a country mile, opening up a near-ten minute lead over team-mate Ignacio Cornejo as overnight leader Sam Sunderland slipped right down the order.
On a day that proved tricky in terms of navigation, America’s Brabec nailed it from the start and was untouchable on a stage which saw the retirement of Adrien van Beveren after a massive crash and yesterday’s stage winner Ross Branch also fall but continue.
“The day was good. It was really fast, lots of rocks, lots of stones, really tricky navigation but I just tried my best to stay focused and when it got tricky, to just slow down and kind of take the time to figure out the right direction,” said Brabec.
“I just had a lot of fun today. The trail is really nice, one of my favourite styles to ride - the sand and the rocks and the high-speed stuff.
“Starting a little bit back today was really nice for me. I didn’t really have too much dust just because the top 10 riders are three minutes apart.
“I started 12th so then I passed the 11th rider before 20km and then after that I had clean air all day. So for me the only push was nice easy. Yeah, I’m stoked, you know.
“Tomorrow is going to be difficult, opening is always difficult. When you open, everyone is behind you. We are gonna do our best to stay focused.”