Love him or hate him you have to respect CdP for digging in doing the job that needs doing.
In his socks, swapping out an engine in a campsite, all to ride a hard stage next day after having ridden a hard stage that day. There aren't too many of us who would or could do that ourselves.
More and more though I'm seeing a mentality at play in dakar that would be more at home in the Tour de France or other professional cycling event. The idea that 3 or 4 riders are only there to hoist a single celebrity to the top. As cool as it is to see everyone on the team I mucking in to get Cyril to the front it also removes to spirit to a certain extent.
I know how hard Dakar is, how hard it's supposed to be, but the inequality between even bike 1 and bike 21, let alone 1 and 141, is insurmountable.
As others have said during this epic F5irehosing, it's becoming a series of sprint stages for the front runners who then get to relax in the motorhome and have a massage. That doesn't in anyway take away from their achievements, but it does make it seem less significant when compared to the guys at the back.
The events we really remember and savor are Toby on his dune, shoestring manny chasing a single mousse, some nutcase trying to ride across the dunes on a bultaco. These are the Dakar to us and the aliens at the front are almost a sideshow.
Anyway it's early, the child is throwing toast at her mum, and I haven't been able to contribute this year so I'm going back into lurker/survival mode to try and keep up.
Watch the bottom of the ladder and enjoy the real spirit of this event.