Cyril Despres has nothing left to lose, so it’s fitting he finally won his first stage in the 2014 Dakar.
While Despres has been a top-three finisher for most of this year’s race, bad luck in Stage 4 and Stage 5 mean he’s far, far behind Marc Coma in the overall standings.
Stage 8 took riders through Bolivia’s salt plains; the day’s stage was 462 kms long, assuming a rider didn’t get lost. It’s the first year the Dakar has been routed through Bolivia, and the hometown crowds were out in force to cheer for Juan Carlos Salvatierra, who’s piloting a Honda for Speedbrain. He only managed a 20th-place finish for the day, though.
Marc Coma finished second for the day and Joan Barreda Bort finished third, so they retain their respective first and second positions overall. Despres’ win means he moves up into ninth overall, but still 02:24:08 back from Coma.
Olivier Pain is the highest-ranked Yamaha right now, in sixth place. He’s 01:59:07 back from Coma, and Despres could certainly catch his teammate at this point.
See race’s official video summary for the day below.