On Wednesday, the KTM rider, who is struggling with a wrist injury, finished 11th after 425 kilometers in the classification, 12:30 minutes behind the Spanish winner of the day, Joan Barreda (Monster Energy), and slipped down from ninth to tenth in the overall standings. He is 28:25 minutes behind Daniel Sanders (AUS/GasGas), who is in the lead there.
“My hand was swollen again last night and it hurt a lot this morning. I assumed that the dunes would help my injured hand, but after the first five kilometers I realized that exactly the opposite was the case. Through these thousands of compressions that come on my hand during a stage, it was even worse than the rocky terrain of yesterday’s stage. It wasn’t fun today,” reported the Salzburger from the fourth stage. On Monday he fell on the second section at a speed of more than 100 km/h and suffered abrasions and bruises as well as a chipped bone on his wrist.
Ergo, Walkner is toying with the idea of dropping out of the race. “My hand hurts extremely. I’m not sure if the whole thing still makes sense. I fight with blunt weapons and don’t say a word about victory. At the moment it’s just a fight and an attempt to get to the finish well,” the 2018 Dakar winner justified his considerations. “It’s still ten long days and I’m not sure if I’m just going to ruin myself and my hand in the process. To have anywhere near a chance of winning with this strong field, I have to be 100 percent fit, And I’m definitely not. It’s very borderline and dangerous at times, what I’m doing here.”
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