Stage 4: 15th
Price had a tough time racing through the 299-kilometer timed special on Day 4.
Following a solid start to the stage, a mistake just over 100 kilometers into the special dropped Price down to 23rd on the timesheets.
After regrouping and fighting back, the Australian was able to gain back several minutes and several places to ultimately finish in 15th.
“Not the best day for me – with so many tracks ahead of us in the sand and some tough navigation on the stage, we got lost a little midway through and ended up losing some time. It’s still very early days with a long way to go, but it’s always frustrating to have a rough day. There were a lot of spectators out there on the special, which is always good to see. Overall though, I’m happy to be here at the finish in one piece and still well in the race, so we’ll focus on tomorrow and see what that brings.”
Stage 5: 3rd
Price delivered a strong performance on the short but technically demanding Stage 5 which included a long 508 kilometer liaison.
The 118-kilometer special proved short but particularly challenging to navigate due to some steep sand dunes and the sun making visibility difficult.
Price knew he had to make good time on today’s special and was fast from the outset, the Australian maintained his top-three position and completed the special in just over 94 minutes.
“It was quite a tough stage today – not very long, but it was hot and there were some challenging sections in the dunes. I’m happy though, I got through with some good pace. I missed a couple of drops, which got the heart rate up a little bit. But all in all, I’m happy with my speed and the result. Heading into tomorrow, I should have a good starting position for the long chrono stage, so my plan is to get through safely, try and conserve a little energy and the bike, and hopefully head into the rest day in a strong position overall.”
Stage 6: 2nd
Taking advantage of his third-place result on Wednesday’s Stage 5 and the reverse start to the Stage 6 special, Price pushed hard, using his skill and experience to navigate through the vast dunes of the Empty Quarter.
Increasing his pace as he chased down the 14 riders ahead of him, Price moved into third place on the timesheets by kilometer 200 and then camped out in the Saudi desert with little in the way of facilities ahead of the second half of the stage.
Price went one place better on the second day of Stage 6 to finish in runner-up and the result moved him up into the top five overall where he trails the provisional race leader by exactly 27 minutes.
“The marathon stage has definitely been a little tougher than we thought it was going to be. It was such a long day for the first part, we did about 513 kilometers in the dunes and raced for around 6 hours and 40 minutes! At the bivouac, we were just given a sleeping bag, a tent, a small box of food rations and tried to get some sleep. But then the next day was good and only 112 kilometers and it felt great to reach the finish line. We all deserve our rest day, that’s for sure. We’re not quite where we’d hoped we would be in terms of time, but there’s still a whole second week to go, so we’re ready for it.”