Death on 1st day reminds of dangers of Dakar

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SANTA ROSA, Argentina (AP) -- The death of Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero on Sunday on the first day of the Dakar Rally focused attention on the hazards of one of motor sports' most dangerous events.

Organizers said the 38-year-old died from head and chest injuries during a crash on the first stage.

The stage from the Atlantic coastal city of Mar del Plata was won by Leonid Novitskiy of Russia in the cars category, and Francisco Lopez of Chile in bikes.

Novitskiy finished the special stage in 32 minutes, 12 seconds -- five seconds ahead of Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc. Both are driving Minis.

Lopez on an Aprilla crossed the line in 32:37, 14 seconds in front of defending champion Marc Coma of Spain on a KTM.