Stage 05 was already cut short due to weather that came in and began to wash out the area. Anyone who has spent enough time in the desert knows why they call an empty stream of gravel a “wash.” Indeed it does. While some made the most of it, others took the brunt of it. The video below will explain better than I can.

While it looks a bit messy, strategically it is a war zone. Remember there are over 300 vehicles competing, released in sequence. What that means is that the end of Stage 05 looks, to us, like racers hit weather and were diverted to some better roads, then cruised into the bivouac.

And that is true of much of the field.

The rest of the field is struggling to find their way in the cold and dark. Dakar officials have safety as a priority, meaning resources will be focused on getting people and vehicles into the bivouac. Then, the bivouac itself is not somehow weather-free. Images coming in before the worst of the storm made things look ugly. There was still solid ground to be seen, but in patches. Getting everyone out of the bivouac and to the start line for Stage 06 is simply not going to happen.

Remember too that Sunday was already the scheduled rest day. This means the only task for race direction, after sweeping Stage 05 clear, is to efficiently move an armada of racers, support, media, and staff to the rest area. Piece of cake.

Or, if you like the dry and efficient delivery of a press release, those are available too. If you are itching for some Dakar, their official Youtube is a good place. Or just cling to this press release, reading it over-and-over, telling yourself it isn’t true:

Considering the extreme climatic conditions and that some drivers are still on the stage course,

Considering that is impossible to bring the vehicles of all participants back to the bivouac and prepare the next stage in the best conditions

Considering that people of the organisation [sic] in charge of the reco of tomorrow’s stage course informed that the road is unpracticable [sic]

The 6e stage of ORURO-LA PAZ has been cancelled.