Dakar 2019: The escalation of Laia Sanz, from a double viral infection to the 11th position of the Dakar | sports

Dakar 2019: The escalation of Laia Sanz, from a double viral infection to the 11th position of the Dakar | sports

Less than a month ago, Laia Sanz did not know if she would cross the dunes of the Ica desert. One day he got up with his mind on the floor and tried to assimilate what it would be like to give up his life's career. The next day he looked strong enough to try, at least, to be on the starting podium in Lima. She was barely recovering from a disease that had left her for three months, practically in bed: a viral and bacterial infection that forced her to leave the Rally of Morocco, one of those tests that serves as a snack for the Dakar. That was at the end of September. He was first diagnosed with mononucleosis, then noted that he had also developed Q fever, and to top it off he suffered a neuropathy. Nothing seemed right. Three months later, he packed his bags to plant in Peru. It is hard and ambitious. I had to prove it.

And not only he trained with all the honors in the podium of exit in Lima, the past 6 of January. But he has managed to return to the Peruvian capital assembled in his KTM, whole and happy. With an 11th overall position that seemed unthinkable when the race started. It is his second best position on the Dakar, after that ninth place he achieved in 2015, the best absolute classification of a woman in the Rally. There was less expected of her. Of all the riders participating in this 41st edition, Sanz was the only one who had completed the Dakar since his first participation in 2011. And in 2019 the story continues.

His romance with the Rally also follows the paths of a love story full of mishaps. This time, however, his knowledge of the race, his self-imposed patience, and his good wrist have allowed him to advance steadily, step by step, in the competition. The first days he failed the forces, so when in the fourth stage finished in 20th place, he felt happy. That regularity that often characterizes it gave him the possibility to go climbing positions in the table. While others failed, she added one more day. Despite the breakdowns and difficulties to find this or that point of passage, that's always the case in the Dakar. He finished 15th the sixth stage and gradually climbed to 12th position.

The final shot was given this Wednesday: 12th in the stage, just 12 minutes from the winner, Metge (Scherco). That made him win one more position: 11th. "I think I say it every day, but I'm very surprised that I got here so well," he said. This Thursday he just had to continue as usual: fast and safe, pending Kevin Benavides (Honda), who followed him closely. The Argentine cut him 12 minutes, but it was not enough. "It's amazing to end up in this position after all," he said on his return to Peru.

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