Three-time champ withdraws from Dakar

00:30, Jan 04 2013

Three-time motorbike champion Marc Coma of Spain says he will not ride in the Dakar Rally next month due to health reasons.

According to Spanish media reports, the Red Bull team pilot said on Friday (Saturday, NZ time) he had not recovered from a shoulder injury in time to be ready for the grueling race set to begin on January 5 in Lima, Peru.

Coma separated his shoulder in an accident during the Rally of Morocco in October.

He won the Dakar Rally in 2006, 2009, and 2011, and was runner-up for the second time this year. His rivalry with Cyril Despres of France has been one of the rally's highlights in recent years.

After its start in Peru, the Dakar Rally passes through Argentina before concluding in Santiago, Chile, on January 19.

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AP