Marc Guasch, team mate of the reigning women’s champion of the Dakar, suffered a fall in the special and had to be lifted off by helicopter with a heavy blow to his thorax.
Sanz, the only woman still in the race, will have to go on alone for the rest of the rally.
Marc Guasch, Laia Sanz’s backup, has had to abandon the Dakar Rally after suffering a heavy blow to the thorax, in a fall which happened 50 kilometres from the end of the eighth special, between Copiapó and Antofagasta (Chile). The Gas Gas rider had to be lifted off by helicopter and taken to the camp, where the organization’s doctors gave him a preliminary examination before sending him by ambulance to a hospital in Antofagasta.
Laia Sanz told the story: “I didn’t see the accident. Marc was in front of me and I found him on the ground. We were in a dry riverbed with soft sand and, apparently, his front wheel had hit a hidden rock. He was thrown forward with the bad luck that the bike fell on top of him. The camp doctors say that he has broken four ribs, but they have taken him to a hospital for X-rays”.
Until the accident, Marc Guasch and Laia Sanz were in 45th and 47th places, respectively, which meant a good stage for them, moving up some places. When the accident happened, the two riders stayed there “for a few minutes before advising the organisation”, as Laia said, “to see if he could get up and go on”. “After a bit we realised that he was in no condition to ride and I called for the rescue”. Laia stayed with her team mate for nearly an hour until the medical helicopter arrived.
When Guasch had been lifted away, Laia continued her run to the end of the stage, crossing the finishing line in 47th position after the race officials had discounted the time that she had been stopped. In the general, the Gas Gas rider moved up four places and is now in 47th position.
Laia Sanz, the only woman still in the race, will have to go on alone for the rest of the rally without the support of her backup, who has had to withdraw. “I feel so bad for Marc, he didn’t deserve that and I hope he recovers quickly. During these days we have been a great team and we understood each other very well. Clearly I have lost a very important support, but there is no option, I have to go on and ride as well as I can to get to Lima”.