Dakar motorcycle rider Paulo Goncalves dies after crash

310 Toyota Gazoo Racing Fernando Alonso Marc Coma

310 Toyota Gazoo Racing Fernando Alonso Marc Coma

Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Goncalves has died after a crash during Sunday's Dakar Rally seventh stage, organisers announced.

The 40-year-old suffered the fatal accident after 276 kilometres of the day's ride from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir.

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"Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead", it added.

Goncalves' death is a blow to the entire Dakar community, and our heartfelt condolences go to Paulo's family, friends, and the entire Hero MotoSports Team Rally outfit.

Goncalves, the 2013 cross-country rallies world champion, was taking part in his 13th Dakar Rally and was runner-up to Marc Coma five years ago.

Goncalves was competing in Stage 7 of the 2020 Dakar Rally prior to the crash.

The most recent Dakar-related death before Goncalves occurred in 2016, when the support truck transporting the Mitsubishi race auto of French competitor Lionel Baud was involved in a crash with another truck in the Argentine province of Cordoba. "Instead I'll try to do good stages every day possible and that's what I'm looking for", Goncalves said then. Since making his debut at the race in 2006, Goncalves accumulated two top-10 finishes-one in 2012 and another the following year.

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.

His death cast a pall over the seventh stage action won by Carlos Sainz in a Mini with Joan Barreda timing fastest in the bike category.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz, a two-times Dakar victor driving a Mini buggy, took his third stage win of the event in the cars category to extend his lead over Toyota's reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar to 10 minutes.

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