Sunday, May 22

Automotive. Dakar: Alexandre Giroud, in the name of the father

In the maelstrom of strong feelings that shook the finish of the Dakar, a place conducive to outpourings of joy, the emotion of Alexandre Giroud did not go unnoticed.

Between the second motorcycle title of the Englishman Sam Sunderland and the triumphal march of Nasser al-Attiyah in the car, the mustachioed Vercors presented himself as the winner on his blue Yamaha Raptor, worthily celebrated by the small team he has formed around him for the “Dakar mission”.

“But do you realize what’s going on?” »

“It’s still hard to do, I have no words, he began by letting go, taking off his helmet and wrapping himself in the blue-white-red flag held out by his mechanic. I thought of so many things in the last hundred kilometres. The closer I got to the line, the more I said to myself: ‘But do you realize what’s going on?’ ‘I didn’t know where I was anymore…’

On the twelfth and final stage, Giroud no longer had anything to fear from his competitors, the two main ones – the Argentinian Andujar and the American Copetti – having been eliminated for a while. But he had to fight against himself, his “main enemy”, according to him, and especially against the internal storm which rose at the same time as the Saudi sand raised by the wind.

“I would have liked so much to share this moment”

When evoking the memory of his father Daniel, who died last April of the Covid, the tears began to flow profusely.

“Twenty-five years ago, he made me dream when he was the first driver to bring a quad to the finish of the Dakar. It was he who gave me this passion and taught me everything. It was he who accompanied me, in 2017 to South America, when we just left together, with a toolbox under our arm, on this adventure. I would have liked so much to share this moment with him, unfortunately he is no longer there…”

From up there, the father must be proud of the son who, at forty years old and for his sixth participation, climbed the dunes and reached the summit without falling on the wrong side, like last year.

“I’ve done everything for a year to get here, it’s fantastic,” concludes Alexandre Giroud before heading to the night podium in Jeddah. There is no doubt that in his thoughts, he was no longer alone when he got on.

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