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FransVerhoeven Dakar2013  Stage1Verhoeven didn’t feel as if he was riding his Yamaha YZ450 that fast when he arrived back in the bivouac. ‘I did what I always do, nothing special’, the Dutchman said. ‘To be honest I was on the brakes more than I normally do.’

A steep step down in the beginning of the special stage forced Verhoeven to brake hard. ‘It was too steep and too deep to jump. About 20 meters, I guess. That is impossible to jump, even for me. After that I just was on the brakes all the time, just to be sure.’

In the meantime the Yamaha worked its way through the ultrasoft sand of the Peruvian desert. ‘It’s a hell of a bike’, Verhoeven said. ‘You cannot afford to hold still for half a second. The sand is too soft. But with this bike I can ride in a higher gear than I would normally do. It doesn’t stop, it keeps on going without wheelspin.’

After all Verhoeven thought he rode a bit too fast. ‘It is nice to finish second, but I would prefer to be a little further down. Fifth or so.’ But being behind Chaleco and have Cyril Despres behind is a good scenario as well. ‘When Cyril passes me, I just have to stay with him. It is a good start of the Dakar.’

The second stage will be another loop around Pisco, but a bigger one. After a 85 kilometer liaison the bikes have 242 kilometer of special stage to cover.



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