Motorbike racer Paulo Goncalves dies in Dakar Rally

Motorbike racer Paulo Goncalves dies in Dakar Rally

'We never know what is going to happen'. The organisers informed that he was pronounced dead in hospital after he was found unconscious following a cardiac arrest.

The rally organisers broke the news of the Dakar veteran's demise earlier today 276 km into the day's special stage from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir. "Following resuscitation efforts, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla hospital where he was sadly pronounced dead".

'The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its honest condolences to his friends and family'.

The last competitor to die on the Dakar Rally was Polish motorbike racer Michal Hernik in Argentina in 2015, though two non-competitors were killed in crashes with vehicles in 2016.

This year's rally marked the 13 time that Goncalves had participated in the Dakar Rally since his debut in the event in 2006, when it was held in its traditional African location through the northern and western Sahara Desert.

Goncalves suffered mechanical problems on Friday, having to change his bike's engine to stay in the race, and dropped to 46th overall after the sixth stage.

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"It seems that I can get a good rhythm and a good flow in the dunes and I'm enjoying so far this second week of the Dakar". Instead Iâll try to do good stages every day possible and that's what I'm looking for, ' Goncalves said then.

"In a release, Hero MotoSports Team Rally condoled Goncalves' death".

The Indian-backed Hero rider only made it to this year's first Dakar staged in Saudi Arabia after recovering from a fractured spleen in a crash in his native Portugal in December.

Sunday's 546km stage, the longest of the event, was won by Spaniard Joan Barreda with American Ricky Brabec extending his overall lead in the category.

On a sombre day in the desert, Carlos Sainz tightened his grip on the overall auto standings with his third stage win of this year's edition.

The Monday result leaves Alonso 13th in the overall classification, but just four minutes off a top-10 position, and suggests he could've potentially fought for best of the rest behind the three leaders if not for his lengthy stop for repairs in the second stage.

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