January 15 th 2019 - 05:00 [GMT -5]
On Monday evening, Gabriela Novotná managed to reach the bivouac before the sun dipped below the Pacific Ocean. It was a huge relief for the Czech rider, who had finished the previous stage at the stroke of midnight. "We went back through a dune sector that we had already visited the day before, but everything was different", she explains. "The dunes were amazing and much easier to navigate than in the dark." On Sunday, Gabriela ate dust and loads of sand on the road from Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona. "I love Peru and its dunes, but the return to racing after the rest day was difficult. The first 80 kilometres were very complicated. The fan on my radiator bailed out on me and I had to regularly add water to my refrigeration circuit. I was lucky to get help from the organisers and spectators. Then we came across a car that was stuck in the canyon and we had to wait. I was getting anxious seeing the sun sink lower on the horizon. Having to get over the dunes with the faint lights of a motorbike is the scariest experience I've ever had." Fortunately, Gabriela had an uneventful stage 7 despite the short night and accumulated fatigue. Barring any nasty surprises, on Thursday she will become the first woman to finish the race in the Original by Motul category.