Dakar 2006: 8th stage: Atar > Nouakchott (07.01.2006)

The Dark Side of The Moon

For the 7th stage the competitors left Tan Tan very early in the morning. Around 02:00 PM the first riders were at the bivouac of Atar. But the stage was not ended. At midnight about 50 pilots were still in the desert, most of them almost sure they could spent the night far from the bivouac. Some of them decided to stop and to sleep a short, cold and troubled night. Some others proceeded very slowly. Many of all sentenced to the withdrawal. For all the night, time by time, a headlight coming from the dark announced the arrival of a pilot. The organizers decided to let the last riders leave for the next stage, after a medical check-up. Should they reach the bivouac at Nouackchott? And if, should they have the time to enjoy this area devastated by a sandstorm?

In the meanwhile the today’s special test was running, Esteve, Coma, Sala and De Gavardo leading the group. The quartet proceeded in a lapse of no more than seven minutes until the first check point. Then, in the following sandy section, suddenly the drama. The fours leaders had some problem of navigating when looking for a secret waypoint in the dune crossing section, and Cyril Despres, the yesterday’s clipped wings blue bird, spread his wings again: “ I was absolutely not sure a was able to conduit, and I don’t wanted to assume any medicament this morning. I wanted to have the real feeling and I rode relaxed. The way was not so easy, but…

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