Toby Price has struggled on Stage 3 of the Dakar, finishing the day ninth and dropping to fifth overall.
As the riders left the overnight bivouac in San Miguel de Tucuman and began the climb into the Argentinian mountains, Toby struggled with navigation and had dropped almost 19 minutes to eventual stage winner and new overall leader, Joan Barreda, by the first checkpoint.
He is now 16m19s behind Barreda in the overall rankings.
Price’s teammate Mathias Walkner also struggled finishing the stage 11th, a further 3m49s behind Price.
The third KTM factory rider, Sam Sunderland, had a better day finishing second, 12m29s behind Barreda and now holds second place overall.
At the end of the stage, Price was clearly frustrated but said the navigation was difficult.
“The first part of the road-book was definitely tricky and I think we all got a little bit out of whack there and a little bit lost.”
“All in all, we got through that part not so bad and then we led the last little bit.”
Honda’s Joan Barreda took command from the very beginning of the special stage.
“Today was one of the days that we picked and we prepared for it from yesterday to attack. It was a really tough stage but I kept my focus during all the stage”, he said.
It is his 14th stage win and he now equals the great Fabrizio Meoni’s number of wins and is only one stage win behind Richard Sainct.
Rodney Faggotter was the fastest of the other three Aussies, finishing 18th today 35m14s behind Barreda. Todd Smith and Matthew Hart have finished the day 40th and 41st.
Manuel Lucchese has made it through the tough third stage and currently sits 84th in the stage rankings.
Overall standings for the second half of the field are yet to be finalised as some of the riders were still completing the stage as we published this story.
Today’s 521km 4th Stage takes the riders through high altitude sand dunes at around 3,500 metres above sea level and into southern Bolivia, ending in the city of Tupiza.
SBS continues its daily coverage of the Dakar today from 5.30pm to 6.00pm (check your local TV guides to confirm) and we will bring you as many updates as we can.