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Škoda Titan Desert Stage 1: Herrero Regains Lead in Thrilling 12-Second Comeback

By We Love Cycling

352 days have passed since the end of the 2022 edition of the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco. But it all came down to 12 seconds. The only 12 seconds of the entire race in which Fran Herrero was not the overall leader and gave up his jersey to Konny Looser.

Almost a full year later, the Cannondale VAS Arabay rider has recovered those 12 seconds.

This year’s first stage had little to do with the previous one. Much more mountainous and with less heat, but the finish was the same. Herrero made good on his power in the sprint against Looser who had to settle for second place.

A stage of just 89 kilometres and more than 2,000 metres of accumulated altitude gain. All this in the Dades region, with green vegetation contrasting with the ochre of the mountains.

The pace of the stage was furious, with more than half an hour ahead of the expected time.  This left a tight group of six riders who shared the route until the last kilometres: Looser and Herrero, Pierre Billaud, Roberto Bou, Sergio Mantecón and Óscar Pujol.

From here to the end, Herrero and Looser followed the good cut shortly before the finish and the outcome is the already known. The same as in 2022. The same one that was maintained during practically the whole of the last edition. Herrero and Looser, just within a few seconds of each other.

2023 Škoda Titan Desert
The racers have many obstacles to overcome during the race.

The women’s GC was less exciting. And it wasn’t that exciting because Vera Looser is out to prove that the second place she achieved last year is not enough now.

Together with her Kosner – Saltoki Home team-mate Tessa Kortekaas, the two shared the lead during the first kilometres of the race. In the large group of 30-40 riders they led the race until the first climb.

From there, Looser set her pace. And Vera Looser’s pace, can only be followed by Vera Looser. The reigning winner of the Škoda Titan Desert Almería won with a lead of more than seven minutes over Kortekaas and Marta Romeu, who finally reached the finish line together.

Stage 1 Mens Results

Pos. Nombre T. official T. Real
1 FRAN HERRERO (ESP) 03:30:24 03:30:24
2 KONNY LOOSER (CHE) 03:30:24 03:30:24
3 PIERRE BILLAUD (FRA) 03:30:29 03:30:29
4 SERGIO MANTECON (ESP) 03:30:56 03:30:56
5 ROBERTO BOU (ESP) 03:30:56 03:30:56
6 OSCAR PUJOL (ESP) 03:33:07 03:33:07
7 HAIMAR ZUBELDIA (ESP) 03:34:29 03:34:29
8 PAU MARZA (ESP) 03:34:31 03:34:31
9 JOSEP BETALÚ (ESP) 03:35:11 03:35:11
10 JORGE LAMIEL (ESP) 03:35:14 03:35:14

Stage 1 Women’s Results

Pos. Nombre T. official T. Real
1 VERA LOOSER (DEU) 04:02:41 04:02:41
2 TESSA KORTEKAAS (NLD) 04:09:42 04:09:42
3 MARTA ROMEU (ESP) 04:09:42 04:09:42
4 MÓNICA CALDERON (COL) 04:10:31 03:58:20
5 ARIADNA RODENAS (ESP) 04:20:00 04:20:00
6 PILAR FERNANDEZ (ESP) 04:27:10 04:27:10
7 NAIMA MADLEN DIESNER (DEU) 04:39:01 04:39:01
8 TUNGUI CUENCO (ESP) 04:40:20 04:40:20
9 ESTEFANIA GUTIERREZ (ESP) 04:46:40 04:46:40
10 MISHA SEKULOVA (ESP) 04:58:18 04:58:18