Cyril Despres admits he was tempted to withdraw from the Dakar Rally in the early stages after a disastrous start left him without any chance of claiming victory.
The Frenchman, winner of the event in 2007, was touted as one of the favourites alongside Marc Coma, but had his hopes of a good result ruined on the very first stage when he lost almost an hour with tyre woes.
Going on to experience more problems, mainly tyre related, in the next few days, Despres dropped as low as 22nd, a position that very nearly prompted him to retire.
“When, after three days, I found myself in twenty second position I was forced to dig deep to find the determination, not just to continue riding, but to continue racing. Rally-raid on a motorcycle is a sport for egoists.
“But the Dakar is also a school of life and teaches you that to receive you have to give. KTM, the people in my team, my sponsors, my fiancé, my family and my friends give me a great deal of support.”
Indeed, Despres dug deep, scoring a series of strong stage times to eventually emerge second, albeit 90 minutes off Coma's rally winning lead.
“Another Dakar and another podium - but unfortunately not another victory. Still, in many ways, it is a personal triumph. and it was in my gratitude to them that I found the strength to fight all the way to the end. Congratulations to Marc for a truly excellent race.”