Updated: Saturday, 11 January 2014 00:53 | By Agence France-Presse

Veteran Dakar Rally rider dies

An experienced Belgian motorbike rider has died competing in this year's Dakar Rally, organisers announced on Friday.

Veteran Dakar Rally rider dies

Belgium's Eric Palente is pictured on his Honda at the symbolic start of the Dakar Rally in Rosario, some 350 Km north of Buenos Aires, on January 4, 2014

Eric Palante, 50, riding for the Honda team, died on Thursday's fifth stage between Chilecito and Tucuman in Argentina.

Palante, in his 11th Dakar, was the third person associated with the gruelling race to die on Thursday after two members of an Argentine news team perished when their car plunged into a ravine.

Dakar organisers ASO issued a statement reporting that a technical support truck had discovered Palante's lifeless body at 0830 local time Friday at the 143 kilometre mark of the stage.

"No alarm was made to the organisers. Eric had been supplied with water during the afternoon," the statement continued, adding that the fatality would be investigated by a local judge.

Palante is the 23rd competitor in 36 editions to die in the Dakar Rally.

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