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Joan Barreda: 400 kilometers of dunes and tracks to finish third with a broken clavicle

Joan Barreda's left clavicle is fractured. The first observations after the fall he suffered last Thursday warn that the bone has split into two parts, although the displacement is minimal. Those two parts of the bone are contiguous, not in the shape of an L, which could significantly reduce the pain, which is already a lot. With this diagnosis, the Torreblanca pilot went out to compete the day after an accident, bruised, badly injured, with his body in shreds. She finished 14th, after giving up five minutes to the winner of the special, Daniel Sanders (GasGas). And he stuck to the rest stage.

A well-deserved rest this Saturday in Riyadh and many hours on the team's physiotherapist's stretcher have returned the most daring Barreda to the slopes. Despite the suffering. The Honda rider went to the stage this Sunday, the seventh, confident and with all the courage that years of experience give him, to compete with pain. He did it with that left shoulder well fixed with bandages and with a slightly modified motorcycle to make the 402 kilometers of special more bearable. “His team has changed the position of the handlebars of his Honda to make riding a little less uncomfortable. Now the handlebar is a bit further back, so the rider doesn't have to open his arm as much, ”explains a member of Monster Energy Honda.

The fix must have worked well for him. When he reached the end of qualifying he had set the third fastest time. Direction to Al-Dawadimi, with 100 kilometers of dunes to open your mouth and a labyrinth of tracks below, Barreda was less than three minutes with respect to the winner of the stage, his teammate José Ignacio Cornejo.

The stage was round for the Spaniard, who aspires to win his first Dakar Rally. Or at least to get on the podium, an award that has not yet been achieved. It is all or nothing that of Castellón. Fast as few. And between injuries and misfortune, he has never been able to finish the race in the top three despite being the third driver in Dakar history with the highest number of victories: 28.

This Sunday, Barreda, despite the complications, took a giant step in the general classification, where he is now seventh, just 8m, 33s behind the first. Because many of his rivals failed. And that third position on the stage allowed him to close the gap with the leader of the classification, who is now a Yamaha rider Adrien Van Beveren, tenth this Sunday, 12 minutes away, he was the great beneficiary of Sam Sunderland's bad day, until yesterday , leader in motorcycles.

There are four stages left for the Dakar to finish. And Barreda wants to be in Yedda whatever. If, in addition, he manages to overcome some position more, his second week will have been quite a feat. One more to add to your history.

The car special was awarded to Sébastien Loeb (Prodrive), who started 23rd and with this second win of the year managed to cut a few minutes off the leader, Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), five minutes slower than the Frenchman in this seventh stage. The Qatari continues to lead the general, with a 45-minute margin over Loeb and a 53-minute lead over Saudi Al Rajhi (Toyota). The Spanish Carlos Sainz, although without options for the final podium, finished the stage third, seven minutes behind Loeb.

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