Portugal's Paulo Goncalves dies during Dakar 7th stage

From Sunday the second part of the Dakar rally will offer the competitors a radically different challenge

Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Goncalves has died after a crash during the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. He was 46th overall after the sixth stage on Friday.

Sunday's seventh stage of the race was a 546-kilometre journey from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir. The organisers received an alert at 10:08, after which a helicopter was dispatched to find the rider. Attempts to resuscitate the rider were unsuccessful, and Goncalves was pronounced dead at Layla Hospital.

Goncalves is the first competitor to have died contesting the Dakar since Michal Hernik in 2015.

The Portuguese rider was competing with Indian motorcycle manufacturer Hero in his 13th-ever Dakar Rally.

Australian Toby Price, the defending champion, finished an hour and 20 minutes behind Barreda but organizers said he stopped to try to help Goncalves and will have his position recalculated.

After meeting the riders, and making a decision together with the entire motorbike family, the organisers have chose to cancel stage 8 for the motorbikes and quads category, which was supposed to take place on a loop course around Wadi Al-Dawasir, in order to give the riders time to mourn their friend.

Mini have now won six of the seven stages.

"We know that bikes are risky".

Portugese rider Paulo Goncalves.

Goncalves crashed out on the fifth stage in Peru past year.

The 57-year-old Spaniard in a Mini completed the longest special between Riyadh and Wadi ad-Dawasir over two minutes clear of Toyota rival Nasser Al-Attiyah with his fellow Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel in third.

The 40-year-old suffered the fatal accident after 276 kilometres of the day's ride.