Category: Dakar 2013

How Cyril Despres wins 4 Dakar titles

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Dakar Rally 2013: The KTM Riders

Cyril Depres on his KTM

All images [via] unless stated otherwise

As the Dakar Rally 2013 gets underway,  I thought I would give an introduction to the race and a quick preview of the KTM riders competing this year.

The Dakar Rally (formerly known at Paris-Dakar) was started in 1978 by Thierry Sabine.  That year, he competed in another rally that crossed the Libyan desert and quickly became fascinated by barren landscape.

Dakar Landscape

Dakar Landscape [via]

Returning to France, he vowed to spread his fascination with his own race which would start in France, continue to Algiers crossing Agadez and finish in Dakar.  After declaring that it would be ‘A challenge for those who go and a dream for those who stay behind’, the Dakar Rally was born.

This year’s race flags off from Lima, Peru (It has started in South America since 2009) and finishes 15 days later in Santiago.

Dakar Route 2013

Dakar Route 2013 [via]

KTM riders have dominated the bike (Moto) category, with the Cyril Depres and Marc Coma winning every year since 2005. With Marc unable to race due to injury this year, it remains to be seen if Cyril will have a clear path to victory.

Here are the KTM riders who are racing in the Dakar Rally 2013. Enjoy.

Cyril Depres – The Favourite

Cyril Depres

Cyril Depres

Cyril podiumed twice in 2003 and 2004 before winning in 2005.  He then went on the win the race three more times.  This winning experience will serve him well as he eyes his fifth Dakar title.  He is well poised to take it after intense preparation and with a strong team and bike supporting him.

Kuba Przygonski – Banishing bad luck

Kuba Przygonski and his team

Kuba Przygonski and his team

Kuba is hoping 2013 will spell a different ending for him. He had bad runs in the past two years, when injuries and engine troubles prevented him finishing.  He’s making it his primary goal this year to race mistake-free and get to the finish line.  And he’s right, in this race of attrition, to finish first, he first has to finish.

Joan Pedrero – The Protege

Joan Pedrero

Joan Pedrero

Joan was called up to race when his mentor had to sit out due to injury.  Those are big shoes to fill, as Marc Coma has won three times from 2006 to 2011.  Joan’s personal best was a fifth in 2011, but this may all change when he becomes the race leader this year. He believes his turn has come.  ‘The situation with Marc has made me think that the time is ripe’ he says.

Chaleco Lopez – The Privateer

Chaleco Lopez

Chaleco Lopez

Chaleco podiumed in 2010, but similar to Kuba Przygonski was hit by bad luck.  Mechanical failure and a crash prevented him from finishing in 2011 and 2012.  His contract with Aprilia then ended.  This year, he returns as a privateer on a KTM, hoping to end his unlucky run.  Being Chilean, you can expect the crowd to give him frenzied support if he makes it to Santiago.

Do you think a KTM rider will win the Dakar Rally 2013? Comments below!