Spain’s Laia Sanz (GASGAS) will kick off her 11th Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia at the start of next month and the 13-time TrialGP Women champ is aiming to cement her status as one of the top all-round off-road riders on the planet.

Despite contracting Lyme Disease during the summer, the 35-year-old is good to go although she admits she’s not fully fit after suffering a number of setbacks in 2020.

“It’s been a really tough year for me so to be able to look forward to racing the 2021 Dakar means so much,” she said. “I injured my hand on the second stage of this year’s Dakar back in January and although I carried on and completed the event the injury turned out to be worse than we thought. 


“It took a while at the beginning of the year to recover from that. Unfortunately, when I was finally able to get out on my bikes again I started to feel ill. Eventually I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Thankfully, with the right treatment I have been able to start riding again.

“I know I’m not 100 per cent and we’ll have to see just how I feel when the rally starts in January. It helps that we have some experience now of the terrain we will face and the way things work with the move to the Middle East. 

“The event in January should also be a little more technical and with tougher navigation so I’m looking forward to that. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself and another finish would be incredible but my main goal is to go there and just enjoy the race.”