Morocco’s Aziz el Akad won stage three of the Marathon des Sables race on Tuesday (April 9), crossing a series of peaks in the desert before reaching Jebel Mouchanne after 38 kilometers (23 miles).
Second was Jordan’s Salameh Al Aqra with overall leader Mohamad Ahansal of Morocco third.
Samir Akhdar of Morocco was fourth with Spain’s Miguel Capo Soler fifth.
Ahansal appears to be playing a tactical card by finishing third and not tiring himself before the fourth stage which is long.
“I stepped it up bit by bit until the third checkpoint, and then I saw that Salameh was tired, and so I didn’t miss the occasion to accelerate a little bit until the end, until the finish,” he said.
Women’s leader Laurence Klein of France finished 21st with Meghan Hicks of USA and Joanna Meek of Great Britain, placed second and third in the women’s ranking, crossing the line in 26th and 27th position.
Klein said that holding 21st, and first of the women competitors, meant little until the end of the whole race.
“I looked at the distances between us a bit now, but tomorrow is the big stage, because in the Marathon des Sables, anything can happen, you can break limbs and so on. Until the finish line is there, there is no winner,” she said.