Thousands gathered at the Obelisk in the center of the Argentine capital to watch the symbolic start of the Dakar Rally, a 349km drive to the city of Colon on Friday.
The real racing on the 9,000km journey across Argentina and Chile was to begin yesterday for more than 350 cars, motorbikes, quads and trucks, with the finish set for Jan. 16 back in Buenos Aires.
The rally was moved to South America last year because of safety concerns and the possibility of a terrorist attack in Africa.
Organizers said on Friday that 362 vehicles passed scrutineering — 134 cars, 151 motorbikes, 25 quads and 52 trucks. News reports estimated about 200,000 people gathered to watch the start.
However, the field was reduced to 361 after the bike of Argentina’s Javier Pizzolito caught fire.
Last year’s winner, Giniel De Villiers of South Africa, leads the favorites. Last year’s champions in other categories also return: Spanish motorcyclist Marc Coma, Czech quad driver Josef Machacek, and Russian truck driver Firdaus Kabirov.
Teams from Volkswagen and BMW are the favorites. Volkswagen boasts De Villiers, as well as former world rally champion Carlos Sainz from Spain and Qatar’s Nasser al-Attiyah.
BMW have 44-year-old French driver Stephane Peterhansel behind the wheel, a six-time champion on motorbikes and three-time winner in cars of the Dakar Rally in Africa and Nani Roma of Spain.
Staying home during a national lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic is like “nirvana” for cricketers, as they generally have to live out of a suitcase, Australia head coach Justin Langer said yesterday. Australian cricket is in its off-season and has been largely insulated from the effects of the outbreak, which has suspended all of the country’s major sporting competitions that run during the autumn and winter. Some Australian players are signed with teams in the Indian Premier League, but the lucrative Twenty20 tournament has been postponed at least until the middle of next month and might end up being scrapped like
SCHEDULE CONFLICTS: While new dates have not been announced, somewhere around this year’s original dates would conflict with other major sports events next year The rescheduled Tokyo Olympics will require sacrifices and compromises by all involved, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said yesterday, before predicting the completion of “a beautiful jigsaw puzzle and wonderful Olympic Games.” “Our mission is to organize Games and make [the] dreams of athletes come true,” Bach said, adding that although the Olympics must be held before the end of summer next year, the as-yet-undecided dates would not necessarily be restricted to summer months. Japanese yesterday awoke to the deflating reality that the Olympics they had hoped to host in Tokyo this summer were now probably 16 months away. The IOC
NECESSARY SACRIFICE: ’We’re obviously in a high-cost, high-revenue industry and when the revenue dies, you’re left with high costs, so it’s a no-brainer,’ Ian Foster said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster yesterday said that he would take a pay cut and players would follow suit as New Zealand Rugby cuts expenses while professional competitions are shuttered during the COVID-19 outbreak. In a radio interview, Foster confirmed that he and other coaches had agreed to substantial pay cuts as long as New Zealand Rugby’s revenues are affected. He did not give a percentage figure. “Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut,” Foster told radio Newstalk ZB. “It’s already been agreed to.” “With rugby, when there’s no games there’s no revenue and that’s a tough thing,” Foster said.
From perfecting pizza dough to fermenting tea, rugby players in Europe have found various ways to pass their time during the lockdown forced on them by the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia international Scott Higginbotham, who plays for Bordeaux-Begles, has been busy in his kitchen during the confinement period, which started in France on March 17. “My wife and I take turns in going out, and doing a bit of exercise and a lot of cooking. Every meal is made from scratch,” Higginbotham told reporters last week. “I made my own pizza dough the other day, which was quite nice. I do love pizza,