We've a new year, new year's resolutions and much greater resolve as we visit athletes across the globe fighting to win in their various sporting contests…
In the Dakar Rally’s bike section, Cyril Despres (top) continues to lead the way, though Marc Coma (pictured below), won the last stage on Sunday to close the gap to just under eight minutes. Helder Rodrigues remains third, some 49 minutes off the lead but still in touch.
Mohammed Balooshi’s Dakar debut continues to be eventful. First a bee got stuck in his ear, requiring help to remove it, then the altitude at the Argentina–Chile border meant an unscheduled stop for extra oxygen before Balooshi could continue. But continue he did: “Last night I was getting a good feeling about things because I was seeing dunes, dunes and more dunes. That’s the sort of terrain I’m confident on,” he said about planning his next day’s riding, having safely arrived at the bivouac.
In the cars, Stephane Peterhansel retains his lead in the Mini, while Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz (pictured) slipped a few places to fifth as more powerful cars were better able to deal with the sand and rough terrain, though they remain on the pace in their Toyota Hilux at only 34 minutes adrift. De Villiers’ former VW team-mate and last year’s Dakar winner, Nasser al-Attiyah, continues to make decent progress in the Hummer, another eight minutes behind Giniel overall.
It was Four Hills, four podiums for Gregor Schlierenzauer. His third place at the ski jumping tournament’s final round in Bischofshofen in Austria was enough to retain his lead from Innsbruck and take the overall title. Countryman Thomas Morgenstern won the Bischofshofen event, which was enough for him to leapfrog international team-mate Andreas Kofler into second place overall in a Four Hills the Austrians dominated.
Ryan Dungey grabbed a podium in the opening AMA Supercross event of 2012 in Anaheim, California. He finished third behind reigning series champion Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed.
Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris made the best possible start to the year with victory in the TTR 6Star O’Neill Evolution Big Air event in Davos, Switzerland, edging Eric Willett into second place while Seppe Smits was third. “Eric rode insane and would have deserved the win as much as I did,” said McMorris.
Petter Northug had to settle for third place in the Cross-Country Tour de Ski competition, with the final uphill section of the last event in Italy especially tough, broadcaster NRK describing the skiers at the finish area at Alpe Cermis as like soldiers fallen in battle. Dario Cologna stormed his way to the win, while Marcus Kellner managed to pip Northug to second place. The Norwegian’s focus will now return to the regular FIS World Cup season after 11 days and 110 gruelling Tour de Ski kilometres. “The Tour is tough,” Petter commented. “Most of us are glad it’s over now.”
Lindsey Vonn was fourth in the FIS Alpine Downhill event at Bad Kleinkircheim (AUT) on Saturday, also finishing down in 18th in the Super G on Sunday. However, the American added to her points tally, still leading the way in the Overall World Cup standings by a large margin, with 704 points to nearest rival Marlies Schild’s 540.
- Much more Dakar action at redbull.com's Dakar Rally page
- Mark McMorris wins – story
- Gregor Schlierenzauer's win in the Four Hills – story