Posted by Editoress on 10/20/10
Turbulent start of the ten-day MTB stage race in Australia: a mudslide caused by heavy rain forced the riders to divert from the original track. Last year's winner Urs Huber (SUI) coped well with the restart and additional kilometres and got the stage win ahead of his strongest opponent, Bart Brentjens (NL).
More than 75 athletes from 16 different countries, including the complete podium of last year's event, kicked off the Crocodile Trophy in Cairns Tuesday at 9.30am. The 16th edition of the hardest mountain bike adventure race in the world, leads racers across proven trails. Organisers however, were challenged today by the torrential rain that fell over the past few days: due to a mudslide the first stage, which was scheduled to run from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands through a rainforest, had to be diverted after 25km and restarted.
The Swiss rider Urs Huber, Crocodile Trophy Overall Winner in 2009, dealt with the sudden changes on the day, completing the remaining 65km after the restart in 2:35.11 hours and won by 4.32 minutes ahead of last year's second, Bart Brentjens.
“It was extremely difficult. The terrain was very slippery and muddy and was constantly slightly uphill. It always felt like getting stuck“, says Huber. “I'm very glad and happy about the time gap that I was able to gain today“, admitted the obviously relieved titleholder. After leading the race together with Bart Brentjens already before the restart, he was able to shake off his fiercest competitor only during the long final climb. “I didn't eat enough during the race pause. My brother did give me a bar and there was fruit at the depot, but towards the end I became extremely hungry and ran out of energy“, explained the Dutch rider from the Trek Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team.
The Canadian Cory Wallace used the involuntary break after 15 race and 10 neutralised kilomentres for a power nap – and was successful with this tactic: third place for the 26-year old Canadian, who was still affected by strains of riding the 24H-Solo World Championships in Canberra nine days ago.
Australians finishing strong
Fastest woman of the day was Australian Abby McLennan. “It seems so much longer and harder than last year’s race“, said Abby. “The climbs never seemed to end. It was just up up up.”
This year to get Abby onto the podium again for the second year running she and husband Scott (51) have teamed up with local ‘cop’ Brendan Skerke to race the croc as Team ‘Rattle N Hum’. Brendon had a tough stage this stage but this was planned. He says “I knew this stage would be my Achilles heel of the race, but I’m learning from it and looking forward to the next 9 days, but tough day”. Secondfastest woman was Cairns-local Lesley Sutton (96). This year the first ever all female team are challenging the race in its 16year history- Team She Spoke Cycle Wear – Sharman Parr, Lauretta Howarth and Maree Roberts. The fastest Australian male rider to cross the finish line today was Hans Dielacher (M3) from the Gold
Sir Bart repeats last year's win
Looks like the Granite Gorge stage was to Bart Brentjens liking. Like last year, the previous Olympic Winner and World Champion picked up his first Croc-stage win on the track through the Atherton Tablelands. And just like in 2009 the race was decided with a final sprint.
It was the Austrians Rene Haselbacher and Philipp Ludescher who attacked first on today's short stage from Lake Tinaroo to Granite Gorge. But on the ten kilometre long climb onto Mount Edith the field caught up to the elite road racers. Shortly after the lead group formed with today's (and yesterday's) stage winners: Bart Brentjens (NED), Urs Huber (SUI) and Cory Wallace (CAN).
Again the track lead riders through dense rainforest, open bush land and finally fertile banana plantations and the trio picked up a six-minute lead onto the pursuing group. “The uphill was very tough again because of the wet and muddy terrain, but overall it was a very fast stage”, stage winner Bart Brentjens said of the day's ride. The Dutch rider won the final sprint in 2:24.32, followed by Urs Huber and Cory Wallace who crossed the finish line with three seconds each behind him.
“Today it was definitely an easier stage than yesterday. I had some trouble finding my pace, however, we worked together well and I'm happy with my second place today”, the Swiss rider summed up his day. Cory Wallace, who is used to climbing steep ascents, was thought to have some disadvantages on today's flat last third of the stage, however, was able to stay on the two favourites wheels throughout the entire day.
After the winning trio a pursuing group of seven riders formed with Allan Oras (EST), Mike Mulkens (BEL) and four Austrians: Philipp Ludescher, Christoph Tschellnig, Christoph Sokoll und René Haselbacher. The flat terrain after the food and drinks depot was ideal for the road racers, allowing them to attack fiercely and – with a friendly and windy support from behind – keep the tempo high.
|Stage 1: Cairns to Lake Tinaroo, 98km|
|1 Urs Huber (Sui)||2:35:11|
|2 Bart Brentjens (Ned)||at 4:32|
|3 Cory Wallace (Can) Kona
|4 Mike Mulkens (Bel)||22:20|
|5 Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin Team 9||25:22|
|6 Philipp Ludescher (Aut)||31:27|
|7 Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen||35:11|
|8 Christoph Sokoll (Aut)||36:35|
|9 Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain Team 6||47:50|
|10 Paul Ensink (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE Team 1||50:17|
|11 Matthijs Pot (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE Team 1||s.t.|
|12 Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike||54:28|
|13 James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail||54:29|
|14 Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain Team 6||56:47|
|15 Vinne Los (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE Team 1||1:10:12|
|16 Réne Haselbacher (Aut)||1:13:55|
|17 Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team||2:10:20|
|18 Hamish Taylor (Aus) Fraser and Mountain Team 6||2:44:35|
|1 Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum Team 10||3:44:15|
|2 Lesley Sutton (Aus)||4:36:35|
|3 Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team 2||4:38:00|
|4 Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team 2||4:43:07|
|5 Nancy Caceres (Aus)||5:10:03|
|6 Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team 2||5:18:35|
|Stage 2: Lake Tinaroo to Granite Gorge, 71 km|
|1 Bart Brentjens (Ned)||2:24:32|
|2 Urs Huber (Sui)||at 0:03|
|3 Cory Wallace (Can) Kona
|4 Philipp Ludescher (Aut)||6:17|
|5 Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin Team 9||6:18|
|6 Mike Mulkens (Bel)||6:20|
|7 Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike||6:24|
|8 Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain Team 6||6:26|
|9 Christoph Sokoll (Aut)||6:28|
|10 Réne Haselbacher (Aut)||8:09|
|11 Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen||10:52|
|12 Matthijs Pot (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE Team 1||12:58|
|13 Paul Ensink (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE Team 1||27:53|
|14 James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail||27:55|
|15 Vinne Los (Ned) BIKE ONE TEAM LAPIERRE Team 1||31:23|
|16 Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain Team 6||31:23|
|17 Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team||54:49|
|18 Hamish Taylor (Aus) Fraser and Mountain Team 6||1:39:40|
|1 Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum Team 10||3:06:42|
|2 Nancy Caceres (Aus)||3:34:39|
|3 Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team 2||3:40:25|
|4 Lesley Sutton (Aus)||4:05:31|
|5 Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team 2||4:18:32|
|6 Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear Team 2||4:18:32|
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|