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Škoda Titan Desert Stage 3: Kortekaas Challenges Looser

By We Love Cycling

Vera Looser of team Kosner – Saltoki Home is, undoubtedly, the clear GC favourite to win the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco race. Her dominant performance in the first stage established her as the strongest rider, and she maintained her lead through the third stage. Already on the first day, she gained a 7-minute lead that seemed sufficient – but she might have a challenger for the throne.

Tessa Kortekaas, a Dutch rookie and Looser’s teammate, has emerged as her strongest rival after winning two consecutive stages. Kortekaas showcased her strength and ability to navigate the desert in the third stage, where she broke away from the peloton in the last 30 km after 100 km of riding. This stage was the first of the marathon stages, where riders must camp overnight in the desert with the equipment they have carried on their bikes. The race’s outcome is uncertain as participants face physical and mental challenges without access to the usual comforts of a hotel. “I feel strong, but we’ll see tomorrow after sleeping without a mattress,” joked Tessa who is a tri-athlete and a first-timer in the Škoda Titan Desert Morocco. However, her track record for the past 24 hours of the race is impressive.

The men’s lead group arrived before the first female riders, with Sergio Mantecón (Scott Cala Bandida) winning by a narrow margin over veteran rider Josep Betalú. The stage was full of leadership changes, breakaways from the start and constant cutbacks, and navigation proved to be a critical factor in the outcome. Despite Óscar Pujol’s commendable performance without any mechanical or physiotherapy assistance, Mantecón and Betalú made several cuts and arrived together in the lead. Mantecón emerged as the stronger rider in the end. The overall leaders, including Konny Looser, arrived seconds later, with Looser retaining the leader’s jersey without difficulty.

Tessa Kortekaas is an exciting addition to the race, and her rivalry with Vera Looser adds an element of uncertainty to the outcome.

Mens Race Results

Pos. Name Country Official Time Real Time
1 SERGIO MANTECON SPAIN 04:39:28 04:39:28
2 JOSEP BETALÚ SPAIN 04:39:28 04:39:28
3 ROBERTO BOU SPAIN 04:40:10 04:40:10
4 HAIMAR ZUBELDIA SPAIN 04:40:10 04:40:10
5 KONNY LOOSER SWITZERLAND 04:40:10 04:40:10
6 FRAN HERRERO SPAIN 04:40:10 04:40:10
7 DARIO GADEO SPAIN 04:40:10 04:40:10
8 ORIOL COLOME SPAIN 04:43:19 04:43:19
9 NICOLAS MERCADER SPAIN 04:43:19 04:43:19
10 OSCAR PUJOL SPAIN 04:45:19 04:45:19

Women’s Race Results

Pos. Name Country Official Time Real Time
2 ARIADNA RODENAS SPAIN 04:58:44 04:58:44
3 VERA LOOSER GERMANY 04:58:46 04:58:46
4 PILAR FERNANDEZ SPAIN 05:06:01 05:06:01
5 MÓNICA CALDERON COLOMBIA 05:06:04 05:06:04
6 TUNGUI CUENCO SPAIN 05:26:25 05:26:25
8 MARTA ROMEU SPAIN 05:33:19 05:33:19
10 MISHA SEKULOVA SPAIN 06:06:51 06:06:51