Mario Patrao wins prologue with motorbike and good start for Maikel Smits

The first stage of the Morocco Desert Challenge for the bikes was won by Mario Patrao (105). The Portuguese rider managed to overtake Maikel Smits (103) just before the finish of the 77 kilometres long stage, on the beach of Plage Blanche.

Mario Patrao "I enjoyed this prologue; it was a very good stage and I really like this kind of stage. The bike is perfect, everything went well with it. Sometimes the visibility was not so good but I could find my way and ride very fast on the beach."

The Dutchman Maikel Smits had passed the two Belgians that had started ahead of him, first Gilles Vanderweyen (102), who therefore finished in third, and Olivier Scheen (101). Smits thus finished in second.

Maikel Smits: “I had to get used to the speed again, and the stones. Quite early in the stage there was a more technical part, which slippery stones. That is why I was a bit conservative in the beginning. At about 25 kilometres in the stage, I made a small mistake in navigation. I didn’t understand immediately what the road book maker meant and went right a bit too early, but I came to the right track right after. The second part of the stage went through a riverbed and some little ditches filled with water. Very nice and funny to ride through. I am quite satisfied. It was a better start than I had hoped for, just because I was so careful in the beginning. A good start.”

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