Posted by Editoress on 10/27/10
Stage 9: Cooktown to Ayton, 80km
Philipp Ludescher wins a tight race by seconds
On a shortened stage through tropical rainforests the Austrian finally got himself the stage win and with it the highly desired Boomerang. The youngest participant of the Crocodile Trophy won over Allan Oras (EST) and Cory Wallace (CAN) in a thrilling finish sprint. Fellow-Austrian Christoph Sokoll had to watch the race, which had been cut short for the Carinthian rider due to a broken collar bone.
Not a day passes without any challenges for the organisers of the Crocodile Trophy. From mudslides and a race restart to broken-down depot cars and a tragic fatality – the crisis management skills of organiser Gerhard Schönbacher and his crew have been challenged quite a bit at this year's event. On the ninth Trophy day now, a new stage track had to be spontaneously identified. “The Bloomfield River's water levels are extremely high this year. To cross it would be totally irresponsible,” explained Gerhard Schönbacher at the daily rider briefing.
Thus, instead of the demanding and steep Zig-Zag-track, the loop around the stage destination of Ayton was shortened to a ten-kilometre lap on gravel and asphalt and the stage's length was 80km all up, instead the originally planned 124, but above all, the 700m of climbing were eliminated.
The Team McSabotage, consisting of Rene Haselbacher and Philipp Ludescher, used these circumstances instantly. “Rene constantly attacked, while I was comfortably riding in the bunch”, the stage winner recounts the race day. In the end, several of the eight riders in the leading bunch tried to break away and besides the Austrian, the Estonian Allan Oras and the Canadian Cory Wallace were successful. With 40 seconds in the lead the trio raced towards the finish, where Philipp Ludescher displayed all of his experience from his “real life” as an elite road racer. “I picked the tightest line in the last sandy corner before the finish line and was able to brazen it out”, said the Austrian rider from Vorarlberg. Time-wise ex aequo, but with half a wheel length ahead upon yesterday's winner, the 23-year old secured the second-last possible stage win in 2:37.26.
Cory Wallace, who is a pro on the climbing sections, arrived at the finish line hanging onto the back wheels of his fellow escapees. Even though he would have liked to console himself with a Boomerang for the lost third place in the overall classification, the TransRockies winner and runner up at the recent 24H Solo World Championships in Canberra composedly accepted his defeat, “I can't do more than try hard and give my best. But the climbs were to short for me today and sprinting is not one of my biggest strengths. Maybe I'll have more luck tomorrow.”
In the three master categories yesterday's results were repeated: the stage wins were claimed by the category leaders - Christof Mariën (BEL), Jaan Kirsipuu (EST), Hans Dielacher (AUS) and Abby McLennan (AUS).
Time trial at the end
The riders, by the way, happily accepted the shortened stage. After eight days through rainforests and outback the energy levels are dwindling away, the legs are tired and the bums are sore. Even ultra-marathon athlete Franz Preihs, tormented by blisters on his feet, was gratified at the shortened ride. “The shorter the stage, the less my feet are swelling up and the less pain I am in. Also, now that you can literally smell the race finish, the motivation goes up”, says the Styrian, who had hoped for a better placement than a fourth rank in the M1-classification.
Following the tradition of well-known road races, the 16th Crocodile Trophy will end tomorrow with a 38km long time trial. Overall leader Urs Huber, today with a broken spoke, but without any time lost on his chaser Bart Brentjens, is expecting an attack by the Dutch rider. “Today I began to notice that I'm tired. But if nothing happens, my time gap should be enough”, says the Swiss rider, hopeful for a second Trophy victory.
The Austrian Christoph Sokoll, unfortunately, won't be participating at the grand finale. Having crashed badly on Monday he continued to ride and also started to ride the next day's stage despite fierce pain, however, was diagnosed with a broken collar bone last night after all – race over.
|1 Philipp Ludescher (Aut)||2:37:26|
|2 Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin||2:37:26|
|3 Cory Wallace (Can) Kona||2:37:27|
|4 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Brentjens/Trek||2:38:07|
|5 Mike Mulkens (Bel) GAWW||2:38:08|
|6 Urs Huber (Sui) Team Stöckli-Craft||2:38:09|
|7 Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike||2:38:14|
|8 Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain||2:40:19|
|9 Matthijs Pot (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE||2:44:35|
|10 Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain||2:48:45|
|11 Paul Ensink (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE||2:50:45|
|12 Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen||2:50:47|
|13 Vinne Los (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE||2:57:34|
|14 Réne Haselbacher (Aut)||2:59:38|
|15 James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail||3:02:36|
|16 Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team||3:12:11|
|1 Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum||3:09:59|
|2 Nancy Caceres (Aus)||3:55:09|
|3 Lesley Sutton (Aus)||3:58:03|
|4 Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear||3:58:04|
|5 Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear||4:15:34|
|6 Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear||4:42:26|
|1 Urs Huber (Sui) Team Stöckli-Craft||30:49:54|
|2 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Brentjens/Trek||30:54:43|
|3 Mike Mulkens (Bel) GAWW||31:24:40|
|4 Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin||31:42:39|
|5 Cory Wallace (Can) Kona||32:14:17|
|6 Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike||32:48:24|
|7 Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain||33:27:37|
|8 Philipp Ludescher (Aut)||33:30:50|
|9 Matthijs Pot (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE||34:02:01|
|10 Réne Haselbacher (Aut)||34:18:38|
|11 Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen||34:18:56|
|12 Paul Ensink (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE||36:17:26|
|13 Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain||37:05:40|
|14 James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail||37:21:21|
|15 Vinne Los (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE||39:45:08|
|16 Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team||40:28:11|
|1 Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum||39:45:16|
|2 Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear||47:34:53|
|3 Nancy Caceres (Aus)||48:36:25|
|4 Lesley Sutton (Aus)||49:39:57|
|5 Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear||52:46:21|
|6 Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear||52:58:49|
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