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Stage 12 of Dakar Rally Cancelled as Drivers Mourn Meoni's Death


Organizers of the Dakar Rally have cancelled the 12th stage in the motorcycle section so riders can mourn the death of Italian Fabrizio Meoni.

Cars and trucks are still competing in the leg, which runs from Kiffa, Mauritania to Bamako, Mali. The motorcyclists will be flown to Bamako.

Meoni won the Dakar motorcycle title in 2001 and 2002. Before he died Tuesday, the Italian rider was in second place overall behind French rider Cyril Despres.

Meoni, known as the Lion of the Desert, was killed in a crash one day after Spain's Jose Manuel Perez died from severe injuries sustained in a crash during last Thursday's seventh stage. The KTM Motorcycle team is urging its riders to withdraw from the rally, but has left that decision to the individual riders.

The 8956-kilometer rally ends in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday.

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