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2023 Dakar: Sanders continues to lead despite 'brain fade'

GasGas Dakar specialist Daniel Sanders held on to his lead on day four of the 2023 edition despite what he described as ‘brain fade.’

The Australian, who seems concerned with the arm injury sustained last year, now heads Skyler Howes by 3’33 with Kevin Banavides third. Joan Barreda won the stage.

“Today was a bit of a slow start. I had to open today and I haven’t really done any opening with roadbooks for a very long time since the last Dakar,” said Sanders.


“It was really tricky navigation. A lot of the rain last night washed away the tracks, so I pretty much had to make my own track and make sure my navigation was good. I got caught by Skyler after about 100 km.

“I had a bit of a brain fade today. I forgot to use a tinted lens so I had a clear lens during the sun today. It was a bit of a mistake, an error by me, and that just really drains your brain. Trying to pick up the sand and the terrain is really hard.

“I’m a little bit confident. I didn’t expect it to be going this well after my preparation, but we’re going alright so far, so I’m happy with this. I think for me now it’s just a case of trying to get some recovery and take it easy for the next few days because my arm is pretty sore already and the elbow isn’t 100%. We’ll take it easy. It’s a long race.

“I’m just trying to calm myself down every day. I said to myself and the family and friends back home that after the year off I’ll be happy with a top ten finish. It’s been a very long year and we’ve changed onto a new bike that I’ve had no time on. I just have to gel with it as quick as I can really.

“I only did five days testing in America in December and back home for two weeks recovery before straight to the race. It’s going alright so far and we’re in the hunt and it’s a mix of things. So, yeah, I just want to get through to the rest day and then the last four or five days and see where we’re at. I’ve just got to keep reminding myself to take it easy.”

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