With its 68.4 km, the long stage, so much feared by the competitors of the MARATHON DES SABLES PERU, was maybe not so long, but the maximum time of 32 hours was hinting a major challenge: thirty kilometres of sand under a scorching heat...but with sublime landscapes.
THE EVENT OF THE DAY: A START ALONG A SINGLE LINE
This morning, Bivouac #3 looked like the Far West when at 9:30 AM, two hours after the pack, the 50 leading competitors in the general classification gathered along a single line to take the start of the fourth stage. By coincidence or conscious decision, Remigio HUAMAN QUISPE (D003-PER) and Rachid EL MORABITY (D001-MAR) found themselves at both ends of that line…
THE TOP ATHLETES' RACE
Erik CLAVERY (D112-FRA) took a fast start but was caught up before CP2 (K 22.2) by Peruvian Aldo RAMIREZ (D378-PER), who had claimed yesterday that he was aiming for the Top 3 in the general classification. Aldo and Remigio HUAMAN QUISPE (D003-PER) then led the race until Aldo had to slow down, leaving Remigio resist alone to the return of Rachid EL MORABITY (D001-MAR), who implemented his usual strategy. Ultimately, both men finished the stage hand in hand, with an average speed close to 9.5 km/h over the entire stage, while Aldo arrived 7 minutes later. In the general classification, this latter pulled it off nicely today, with his climb on the podium in front of Julien CHORIER (D111-FRA) and Erik CLAVERY (D112-FRA).
In the women's category, Nathalie MAUCLAIR (D114-FRA) crushed all competition again and even managed to reach a stunning 7th place in the scratch classification! Mélanie ROUSSET (D365-FRA) and Rocío CARRIÓN (D215-PER) completed the day's podium and the Top 3 in the general classification. Rocío resisted well despite the impression of tiredness she gave yesterday, while the Peruvian Aydee SOTO QUISPE (D340-PER) suffered from a major weakness today that divided by two her lead over her fellow countrywoman Renee ROMERO SAYRITUPAC (D395-Per).