Under normal conditions, It could be said that only one mishap separates the Swiss Konny Looser from winning the Titan Desert in his debut in the test … and, if mishaps already happen, the chances of them happening in the desert multiply. In the absence of a day to conclude the test in Morocco, Looser (32 years old) once again demonstrated one more day that he is the strongest. He achieved his second stage triumph (the first he repeats in this edition after the inaugural one) and on a day in which, a priori, he pointed out that it was “the most complicated” for him: the navigation one, without any type of track and the runners being the ones who had to point their way (they must go through three points), and it did it perfectly. He raised his arms in Erg Chebbi in a “scheduled” stage at about 107 kilometers that the Swiss completed in 98. And he reached the finish line with a smile, talking to the press at length and without feeling exhausted. Very superior. In the women’s event, Silvia Roura prevailed and Ariadna Ródenas continues to lead, having, like Looser, the overall shot.
Second to arrive was Haimar Zubeldia. The Basque, who participated in 16 Tour de France, is showing a brilliant performance at 44 years old. He accumulates several top-3 stage in this edition and climbs to second place in the general classification, being Looser’s main rival (along with Guillem Muñoz). He reached the finish line with Zubero, and they both did most of the day together. “Looser changed direction in the final stretch, but I preferred to continue with Julen. We didn’t have the legs to follow him either.”, Haimar emphasized on the strength of the Swiss.
And that the day had the dreaded dunes, the pure essence of the Titan Desert, in the first part of the demanding stage. At that time he was the ‘king of the desert’, Josep Betalú, the one who dominated with several minutes of rent over the first intermediate point. It has four generals, like Roberto Heras, but this year it will not be able to surpass that of Béjar. A breakdown weighed on him the first day and left him almost without options, because he proved to have legs. “Here is my successor,” said the Catalan, based in Costa Rica, at the finish line, while taking a photo with Looser. “I have bundled it,” Betalú himself acknowledged at one of the aid stations on the equator of the race, because he lost all his rent in a flat area after crossing the dunes.
In this way, the final fight for victory was between Looser (who stopped to drink calmly at the aid stations), Guillem Muñoz and Betalú (who barely stopped), and Zubeldia along with Zubero and Óscar Valdepeñas. In short, the first six of the general. After overcoming an oasis, Looser made his personal bet and was successful, even slightly surprised by his victory. “I have learned these days to navigate, but today it seemed like a game of cat and mouse about who to follow. I decided to trust my track even if it was alone, “he said. And now, he is missing the finish on the final day, a sixth stage between Erg Chebbi and the final classic in Maadid with 74 km, the shortest day. “It is not done yet, because anything can happen, but I have won a good time in the general classification”, concluded Looser. He has in his hand his first conquest in the desert.
Classification of the fifth stage
1st Konny Looser: 4h 02:49
2nd Haimar Zubeldia: at 1:55
3rd Julen Zubero: at 1:56
1st Konny Looser: 21h 18:38
2nd Haimar Zubeldia: at 4:21
3rd Guillem Muñoz: at 4:52