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article imageBike Rider Breaks Leg in Unforgiving Desert During Dakar Rally

By Christopher Szabo     Jan 7, 2010 in Sports
The fifth stage of the Dakar Rally has seen accidents and breakdowns in the toughest stage yet, from Copiapo to Antafogasta, both in Chile. Desert conditions have forced out motorbike favourite David Casteu with a broken leg.
The unforgiving Atacama Desert got Casteu to make an “unforced error” and fly onto the hard ground. CNN said he was chasing the stage leader, Chile’s local hero Francesco Lopez when he was blinded by dust from Lopez’ back wheel. The crash resulted in a broken leg for the rider and the end of his race.
Casteu said:
It is an error on my part. I got too close to Lopez. I flew through the air but I remained conscious. I crawled to my motorbike to get to my radio. I was afraid that the artery in my leg had been severed.
France’s Cyril Despres retained the overall lead and Lopez, after his stage victory, moved into second place in the motorbike category.
Meanwhile, Spaniard Mark Coma had a wheel broken and lost 40 minutes as a result, according to the official Dakar Rally website dropping out of the standings.
In the car section, America’s Mark Miller won the stage in a Volkswagen Touareg when he beat teammate Carlos Sainz.
But the big news for the cars is that overall leader Stephane Peterhansel has dropped out of the overall lead as a result of a mechanical breakdown in his BMW X-Raid.
This leaves Sainz first, Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah second and Miller third overall, giving Volkswagen a welcome hat trick in this year’s Dakar.
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