2016: 2nd (1 stage win)
2013: Ab. Stage 12
2011: Ab. Stage 8
2017: Hellas Rally (2nd), Serres Rally (1st), European Enduro championships
2016: Serres Rally (1st), Merzouga Rally (2nd), Morocco Rally (31st)
2015: ISDE Slovakia
2014: enduro races
2013: Tunisia Rally (1st)
2011: European cross-country championship (3rd), E3 Slovakian championship (1st)
Second on the 2016 Dakar and thus a logical contender for the win a year later, Stefan Svitko was soon brought back to Earth. Not being with one of the big three factory teams makes it a tall order to take the ultimate price. From stage 4, the unexplainable absence of his rear brake annihilated the 34-year old’s chances, who went on to finish 25th. In the land of the three-time world cycling champion and star of the peloton, Peter Sagan, Stefan Svitko is a bit more off the radar, due in part to a bit of laziness. But he doesn’t lack for skill. When he set off on his maiden Dakar in 2010, at the age of 28, he never expected to finish 13th overall. Despite a few struggles and two retirements, the three-time European Enduro Championship became a Top 10 regular (5thin 2012 and 2015, 9th in 2014), finishing ahead of fellow Slovak Jaroslav Katrinak, 9th in 2007 and a pioneer back home. A bit bothered by his poor showing last year, Svitko hopes to bounce back. On a borrowed KTM from the Austrian factory squad, but run by his own Slovaft team, the native of Zaskov and sand ace, hopes to be back in the fight for the top three and make the most of the Peruvian dunes.
“I was never a Dakar fanatic. I never imagined going win it was run in Africa. Of course, I admired my compatriot Jaroslav Katrinak when he did it but I never saw myself on the tracks. With the backing of my entourage and friend Maros Keher, I would’ve never done it. When I set off the only goal was survival and then I finished 13th which was a major result for a first go. So, I had to comeback. Last year following my 2nd place in 2016, I had big ambitions but then finished 25th. I proved that I belonged among the contenders for the win but to win you need to be lucky, consistent, error-free and spot on with the navigation. I’m not saying I am due a win, but if I was this good, I would have won the Dakar last year. Yet, they often say that the top ten riders are all contenders for the win.”
SLOVNAFT RALLY TEAM
Stefan Svitko has decided to withdraw from the Dakar after yesterday's hair-raising fall. He was sitting in eighth place overall this morning.
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