Dakar: Teammate of dead Polish rider does not take Stage 4 start

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One day after Polish motorcycle rider and Dakar Rally rookie Michal Hernik was found dead along the Stage 3 route from San Juan to Chilecito, his teammate did not take the start for today’s Stage 4.

According to the Dakar’s “live feed,” 44-year-old rider Pawel Stasiaczek (pictured) – who raced alongside Hernik for KTM squad FarmaProm – was the only one of the remaining bike competitors not to start the run from Chilecito to Copiapo, Chile.

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Yesterday, Hernik’s body was found along kilometer 206 of the third stage. A statement from race officials said that the circumstances of his death were yet to be determined, and that Hernik did not show “external” signs that he had been in a crash.

Officials detected the loss of his Irritrack signal and after being informed that Hernik had not finished the stage, a search party went out to find him. Just after 4 p.m. local time, a helicopter spotted his body 300 meters off-course, and his death was subsequently confirmed by a doctor.

Hernik is the fifth competitor to die in the Dakar since it was moved to South America in 2009, and the 24th fatality in the race’s long history.