The 17th edition of the Titan Desert will reach the sixth and final round more exciting than ever, with the leader Francisco Herrero and the defending champion, the Swiss Konny Looser, separated by 3 seconds. On the fifth day, Sergio Mantecón, winner of the test in 2020, sneaked into the party, who gave an orientation course from start to finish, in the dunes, on the plains and on all types of terrain.

Quite a navigator, Mantecón set out to exploit the lands of the infinite desert as if he were the legendary adventurer and local traveler Ibn Battûta. He gave a master class at a special stage, he was already almost an orientation member. The first part, including dunes, did not have a marked route, you had to make a living.

THE NAVIGATION WAS DECISIVE

Mantecón crowned the area of ​​mountains of sand, at the top of which there was a 1-minute prize. If Herrero or Looser had succeeded, they would already be virtual champions of the Titanbut the Cantabrian cyclist based in Siete Aguas (Valencia), 37, took precedence in the fight between the two favorites, called to decide the crown of king of the desert this Friday.

Mantecón had been lost in previous days, but you learn from mistakes, and this time he applied himself and went full throttle, also joining forces with his teammate from Scott Cala Bandida Miquel Faus. Between the two they solved the stage victory by far.

Mantecón, stage winner in the Titan 2020 that Almería hosted, did the double next to the dunes of Erg Chebbi, always presiding over the runners’ camp. He signed his feat with a time of 3:43:18, at an average speed of 28.2 km/h. Faus followed at 1.20 minutes and the star duo Herrero-Looser, together and in a sprint, seconds later.

The strategy was to dispute the bonus of the dune and then go in a group. We have sailed very well, side by side with Miquel. The previous days I made mistakes, but I learned from them. Everything went well today, it was a team victory. I’m sorry I screwed up Blacksmith and Looser because the bonus would have fixed their race. They will have to play it face to face tomorrow,” said Mantecón.

DUEL AT THE HERRERO-LOOSER SUMMIT

Equality has already marked this edition of the Titan Desert. Only three seconds separate the Segovian Francisco Herrero, Spanish marathon champion, from the Swiss laureate in 2021. By far, Julen Zubero, from Biscay, remains third, 6 minutes behind.

There is no way to let Herrero down, he is very strong. The land is not the best for me. Only tomorrow remains and we will have to risk everything or nothing, there is no other solution. I’m going to try, of course”, commented Looser at the finish line, while Herrero, with a lot of pressure on him, affirmed his intention to” go for it all “.

ANNA RAMÍREZ AWAYS VERA LOOSER

In the women’s fight for the title, the victory went to the Namibian Vera Looser, who entered the finish line together with the Spanish Anna Ramírezboth with a time of 4h.31.05, at an average of 23.2 km/hour.

In the absence of a stage Ramírez, three times winner of the Titan, has half a race in his record, as he leads his rival by 6 minutes.

The sixth and last stage between Erg Chebbi and Maadid, of 78 km, presents incentives to think of an exciting end to the party.

The start will be fast along wide, sandy tracks until you reach an “oued”, a river, where the terrain becomes rocky and constantly rising until you reach a high point that precedes a short but dangerous descent. After reaching a plateau, you will then have to overcome a descent along a very technical path. Difficulties will not be lacking until the last meter. The Titan is undecided.

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