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The Gas Gas riders have an epic day and arrive at the Pacific

14/01/2014
Altitude, dunes and sea. The Team Gas Gas defies the elements and exceeds expectations in a ninth stage full of mishaps, culminating with a dizzying descent down to the Pacific. Marc Guasch gained a spot and is 26th overall.
The region of Antofagasta, on Chilean soil, has witnessed the riding of the survivors of the 2014 Dakar. The journey started from Calama to a height of 3,000 meters with an initial stretch of 37 kilometers of special. The rest, up to Iquique, consisted of a second part of 422 timed km.

The initial road required negotiating a very brittle ground. To Marc Guasch, 29th ranked in today's stage, it has been "a very long special, with dry rivers and many sand traps although the pace was perfect and the riding safe."

Upon reaching the first dunes of the Atacama, the rider from La Garriga comfortably navigated aboard the Gas Gas EC 450 Raid "completing all waypoints". Unfortunately problems appeared 10 kilometers from the finish while being overtaken by a rival. "In the dust I have crashed in an area of “fesh fesh” - The name that refers to the undulating sandy and slippery-surface – “I nailed my bike and I have flown." For Guasch, "It was a shame, because the bike hit me and hurt my rib. I hope it's nothing", he noted. This incident has prevented him from risking anything in the drop of the last 3 km to Iquique. A high rate of descent, with slopes of 30%. "The important thing is to be here. Not long to Valparaiso" , summed up the Team Gas Gas rider.

The odyssey of Oliveras
Things have gone worse for the debutant Dani Oliveras who has pulled hard to stay in this epic Dakar. Their problems have started when had slowed at the km.120 "because I saw that it could be dangerous," and as he was being overtaken by another rider, who has heaving a cloud of dust before him. "I've found a stone in the road that has crushed the exhaust. When I lifted the bike upright, it would not start." From there, the Girona rider has been thoroughly used-up to stay in the race. "I continued as I could until the km 200, with stones and screwdriver, I tried to straighten the exhaust as best I could, but I've lost 40 minutes." The dune area has been an ordeal. "The bike would not exceed 90 km/h but I managed to complete as I could all waypoints" As a good optimist, Oliveras shows the positive side. "It was a very difficult day but the important thing is that I got here and tomorrow is another day."

The countdown of this Dakar has started. Tomorrow is the tenth stage between Iquique and Antofagasta, with a total of 446 kilometers. The first sector of the special will be sand and desert dunes. In the second section the fesh-fesh reappears.

MARC GUASCH, rider Gas Gas, #27
"a very long special, with dry rivers and many sand traps although the pace was perfect and the riding safe. The bike was just the power we need but we know what our limits are. Upon entering the dunes, I navigated well fulfilling all the waypoints. But 10 kilometers from the finish while being overtaken by another rider, and in the dust I have crashed in an area of fesh fesh I nailed my bike and I have flown. It was a shame, because the bike hit me and hurt my rib. I hope it's nothing. The important thing is to be here. Not long to Valparaiso."

DANI OLIVERAS, rider Gas Gas, #45
“I had slowed at the km.120 because I saw that it could be dangerous and had slowed my rhythm, and then another rider was overtaking me and he was making a lot of dust in front of me, then I’ve found a stone in the road that has crushed the exhaust. When I lifted the bike upright, it would not start. I continued as I could until the km 200, with stones and screwdriver, I tried to straighten the exhaust as best I could, but I've lost 40 minutes. In the dunes, the bike would not exceed 90 km/h but I managed to complete all waypoints. I am happy, it was a very difficult day but the important thing is that I got here and tomorrow is another day."

STAGE CLASSIFICATION
1. Marc Coma        4h49’05”
2. Joan Barreda       +01’41”
3. Cyril Despres       +05’28”
4. Joan Pedrero         +08’43”
5. Stefan Svitko         +09’42”

29. Marc Guasch      (Gas Gas)    +54’21” 
68. Miguel Puertas   (Gas Gas)    +2h46’55”
71. Dani Oliveras      (Gas Gas)    +3h10’08”


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Marc Coma             36h55’24”
2. Joan Barreda         +40’19”
3. Jordi Viladoms        +1h38’45”
4. Israel Esquerre       +2h07’06”
5. Olivier Pain              +2h16’10”

26. Marc Guasch   (Gas Gas)       +7h50’16”  
40. Dani Oliveras  (Gas Gas)        +11h36’55”
74. Miguel Puertas (Gas Gas)      +29h29’03”

Tenth stage. Tuesday, January 15th
Stage 10: Iquique - Antofagasta
Link: 58 km Special: 631 km Total: 689 km
The descent down the Pacific Coast begins with a split into two sections with very different special features. The dent in the velocity experienced in the previous day’s stage can be exploited again in the sand of the first 200 miles. They still need more skill to attack the passages of fesh-fesh in Part Two. Once past this, everyone will be happy on the trails winding through the mines in the region and, in particular, be greeted by the imposing rock ‘peñasco de La Portada’ a few hundred meters from the bivouac in Antofagasta.


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