Bou: “Fran needed me”
Almost individual blocks crossing stretches of absolute immensity. The navigation strategies that divide the peloton into small groups. Sometimes we think that the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco is a sport of individual effort, but the team plays a decisive factor. And where this is most noticeable is in the marathon stage.
The rookie Francisco Herrero has learned it well today. A mechanical problem caused him to leave the dune zone as the last of the elite group. The Segovian gritted his teeth and continued to push himself. He did not do it alone, he had a guardian angel named Roberto Bou. The Teruel-born rider helped his teammate to link up with the head of the race and did not leave it there.
Bou attacked in the last kilometers with Sergio Mantecón and Guillem Martínez. The Cannondale TB rider dared to sail in the final stretch and was the best of the leading group. He completed a day for history with a solo victory, after doing a priceless job for his team.
Herrero was also able to extend his lead over Looser. Both riders reached a tight sprint, but the Swiss rider measured the final curve worse and lost three seconds at the finish line.
Bou: “Fran got stuck in the sand. I had to drop off to help him. Today he needed me. From the EH3 I put navigation and course to victory.”
Herrero: “It was an extreme day for me. In the dunes I got stuck and Roberto waited for me and did an incredible job.”
General classification male
1. FRANCISCO HERRERO (CANNONDALE TB) – 10:48:50
2. KONNY LOOSER (TAMAYO TEAM) – 10:48:53
3. PAU MARZA (THE WHITE ANGEL BY SANTIVERI) – 10:49:01
4. JULEN ZUBERO (KRYPTEIA) – 10:54:40
5. ORIOL COLOME – 10:54:48
6. HAIMAR ZUBELDIA (KRYPTEIA) – 10:54:48
7. LUIS ENRIQUE LOPEZ (KH7) – 11:02:14
8. PAU SALVÀ (FACTOR8 CYCLING PROJECT) – 11:05:38
9. GUILLEM MUÑOZ (EDIBIKES) – 11:05:55
10. PABLO GARRIDO (GOBIK FACTORY TEAM) – 11:09:19
Ramírez: “It was very hard”
In the women’s GC, Anna Ramirez does not want to leave any loose ends in her tyrannical domination. The Catalan rider took the lead right from the first stretch of dunes and continued to push to extend her advantage.
The margin over her pursuers was more than four minutes. Vera Looser was again the one who could best resist the strength of the KH7 rider. The Namibian cyclist does not want to give up in this Škoda Titan Desert Morocco. If yesterday she managed to snatch the victory from Ramirez, today she was the smartest in the final stretch of navigation and managed to reduce the gap to the head of the race.
🥇La 3.ª etapa es para Roberto Bou y Anna Ramírez.⁰Ambos ganadores han entrado en solitario adjudicándose la victoria de hoy.⁰-⁰🥇The 3rd stage is for Roberto Bou and Anna Ramírez.⁰Both winners have entered the stage alone, claiming today's victory.#ŠkodaTitanDesertMorocco pic.twitter.com/ZvY58Y3Qkr
— Škoda Titan Desert Morocco (@TitanDesert) May 10, 2022
The leader is more leader, but Looser managed to reduce the gap to 30 seconds. In any case, Ramirez has a margin of more than five minutes over her rivals and has shown no signs of weakness so far in the race.
Ramírez: “Luckily, they cut the course, because it was still very hard. It was beautiful and flat, but very, very hard.”
General classification female
1. ANNA RAMÍREZ (KH7) – 12:09:50
2. VERA LOOSER (TAMAYO TEAM) – 12:14:47
Waiting for official results
What will tomorrow bring?
This stage goes back to the dunes of Erg Chebbi. All of it runs through large plateaus, sandier in some passages than in others, with long straights to measure the strength of the riders.
Arriving in the erg area, the route crosses a large track, before reaching another more secondary one. These plains and small canyons lead to a large chott, the last step before reaching the final part of the day.
The last part of the day passes through large open spaces to reach the base of the camp dunes, which will accompany the participants for two nights.