Zubero: “It was a surprise.”
A day with fewer changes at the front of the race than yesterday but in which the riders rode at full speed from the first kilometre. Pau Salvá remained in the lead for much of the stage. It was not until the last 15 kilometres that he began to lose seconds until his pursuers caught up with the FACTOR8 CYCLING PROJECT team rider in a moment of navigation.
The stage was again decided in a reduced sprint among the elites, in this case among just 10 riders. Julen Zubero was the fastest, ahead, among others, of the leader Francisco Herrero who stays in the overall lead. Konny Looser was again second in the stage and remains in the hunt for Herrero in the general classification, both with the same accumulated time.
Zubero: “It was a surprise to win. I was suffering a lot on the final climb. In the end, I knew how to navigate and I was able to take the win.”
Herrero: “Everything indicates that tomorrow will be the decisive day. It will make the difference between the people at the top. We will see who is the strongest.”
General classification male
- FRANCISCO HERRERO (CANNONDALE TB) – 07:11:24
- KONNY LOOSER (TAMAYO TEAM) – 7:11:24
- JULEN ZUBERO (KRYPTEIA) – 7:12:17
- HAIMAR ZUBELDIA (KRYPTEIA) – 7:12:17
- ORIOL COLOME – 7:12:17
- PAU MARZA (THE WHITE ANGEL BY SANTIVERI) – 7:13:00
- PAU SALVÀ (FACTOR8 CYCLING PROJECT) – 7:15:22
- LUIS ENRIQUE LOPEZ (KH7) – 7:17:08
- PABLO GARRIDO (GOBIK FACTORY TEAM) – 7:23:05
- JOSE CARLOS NUÑEZ (FACTOR8 CYCLING PROJECT) – 7:24:38
Looser: “I had to push hard.”
Vera Looser had better luck than her husband, and she denied Anna Ramírez her second straight win. The Namibian rider won in a very tight sprint against the Catalan of KH7.
Looser and Ramírez were in the lead along with Norwegian Hildegunn Gjertrud during the first 75 kilometres of the stage. The former Norwegian road champion ended up losing some ground with the other two at the third checkpoint.
ETAPA 2 – 102 KM D+ 964m. Dificultad 💪🏻 🔴🔴🔴🔴⚫️
STAGE 2 – 102 KM D+ 964m. Difficulty 💪🏻 🔴🔴🔴🔴⚫️#ŠkodaTitanDesertMorocco22#rideyourdream#mtbstagerace pic.twitter.com/D5UEnaBk4r
— Škoda Titan Desert Morocco (@TitanDesert) May 9, 2022
Finally, the winner was the Namibian, although she did not cut time with Ramírez who remains a firm overall leader, full four minutes ahead of Looser.
Looser: “I started well but soon I saw that Anna Ramírez was pushing me. She left me no choice but to follow her pace and I had to push hard.”
Ramírez: “I feel strong and I see that I don’t suffer when I go with my rivals. Tomorrow, I will follow the same strategy as today and I will react to every attack.”
General classification female
- ANNA RAMÍREZ (KH7) – 8:04:19
- VERA LOOSER (TAMAYO TEAM) – 8:08:44
- HILDEGUNN GJERTRUD (CANNONDALE TB) – 8:15:48
- RAMONA GABRIEL (GARMIN-LAPIERRE) – 8:17:17
- AMANDA BOHLIN (Škoda AUTO WE LOVE CYCLING TEAM) – 8:48:26
- MARTA TORA (CANNONDALE TB) – 09:03:26
- ARIADNA RODENAS (AZONA) – 9:10:55
- ZUZANA BOHACOVA (Škoda AUTO WE LOVE CYCLING TEAM) – 9:12:35
- ALBA SOLES (EDIBIKES) – 9:19:40
- MARIA LUISA CUENCO (QUIRONPREVENCION) – 9:22:22
What will tomorrow bring?
The second sector of the marathon stage. It starts with a fast segment until a small erg where the tracks change and a slow and rocky road begins. Participants will enter a stretch with two uphills and downhills.
This is where the Škoda Challenge 2022 will take place. The fastest rider to complete the two climbs marked in green on the profile will receive a 60-second bonus in the general classification.
After this section, the course heads out into a large valley through which it will go uphill until it reaches a large oued. The last kilometres run through a large plateau, with fast off-piste sections. The stage finishes on a road that will lead to the longest stage of the 2022 Titan Desert.