Dakar 2022: How biker Adrien Van Beveren lost an (almost) won race

It’s infuriating. This Friday, British biker Sam Sunderland won the Dakar 2017 and thus grabbed a second title on his record in this event. For the northern pilot Adrien Van Beveren, the scenario could, and should, have been quite different. Long on the podium during the race, and even leader several times, his dreams of victory collapsed from the start of the penultimate stage.

Since the start of this Dakar 2022 was given, on January 1, in Saudi Arabia, the pilot Northerner Adrien Van Beveren had a perfect race on the handlebars of his Yamaha. While he had experienced great difficulties during the previous Dakars, the biker quickly imposed himself this year by hanging on to the leading pack in the general standings from the 2nd stage, then pole position in the 7th.

Small mistake, big consequence

When he set off for the penultimate stage , Van Beveren had good hopes of consolidating his leading position. Short-lived hope since his destiny changed from the fourth kilometer. The Northerner missed a waypoint due to a small navigation error. A blunder which forced the biker to retrace his steps, causing him to lose long and precious minutes. And while he struggled to find the famous “way point”, his rivals took the opportunity to pass him.

When he left in the right direction, the bad was done. The northern biker had to tear himself away, going up one by one the other competitors until finishing 3rd in the stage, his delay on the new leader, Sam Sunderland, was far too important. He knew it at the time, his mistake had cost him the Dakar.

The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory team rider started the last stage at the foot of the podium and his efforts did not allow him to finish in a better place. Adrien Van Beveren is 4th overall, almost 19 minutes from the winner. If he had to rejoice in one thing despite everything, it would be to have finally been able to go to the end of the race, a first since 2017.