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The first part of the stage was difficult from the beginning. ‘Turns, sand, dust: very demanding. I rode in the dust of others all the time. When the field became more open and the wind blew the dust away, I got on the tail of Kurt Caselli. I know he is specialized in this kind of stuff so I followed him. But then we got into the woods again and it was like driving in thick fog again.’

After the first part of the stage Verhoeven was tired already. ‘It was very physically demanding and hard. There was little time to rest en recover for the second part. In the second stage I fell twice while riding in the dust of another rider, a Czech who refused to turn over. He did not let me pass, while I was much faster. He let me ride in his dust for 120 kilometers. Very dangerous.’

Verhoeven had to start the stage from Tucuman to Cordoba from 35th place but finished 14th. In the general standings he moved up to 13th, with top 10 in sight.


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