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Coma sets the tone

Al Attiyah bounces back

It is almost a different sport. With 295 kilometres covered in the special stage for the bikes, the gaps recorded are starting to be counted in minutes. Marc Coma, who already fired a warning shot over his rivals' bows by putting in the second best time yesterday, did not take long to seize the opportunity to put some distance between his bike and the chasing pack. Having set of in second place behind Francisco Lopez, yesterday's winner, the title holder won the 17th stage of his career on the Dakar, opening the road during the entire final part of the route.

Some way behind the Spaniard, a traditional confrontation with Cyril Despres fell into place. After a gentle start to the competition yesterday, he was obliged to start in 13th place. On the tracks, he overtook Olivier Pain, then Pal Anders Ullevalseter and Quinn Cody, picking up the best time at the half-way point. However, in the final sandy section over the last 50 kilometres, Coma made up for time lost and even built up a lead of 1'18â€