The 19th Crocodile Trophy started with a cross country race in Smithfield north of Cairns today. More than 80 riders from 15 countries kicked off the race and with an overall race time of 1 h 30:14 min Australian Mark Frendo took out the stage win and elite leader’s jersey with a 1:06.4 min gap ahead of Jan Fojtik (CZE) and Wolfgang Krenn (AUT). So 5th placed racer Steven Rankine claimed the Fastest Australian jersey. The women’s lead was claimed by Liesbeth Hessens from Belgium.
Since Frendo started training again in June, he quickly ramped back up to 20+ hour weeks, and claimed the Queensland State Road title, then turned heads at the Mongolia Bike Challenge. Those who knew of his pedigree as an U19 and U23 XC National Champion were not surprised to see his success.
“I prepared as best as I could for this race, today really suited me because I have a bit of a cross-country background and I just gave it a go and it all went to plan”, said the U19 and U23 national MTB champion who plans to keep challenging his fellow elite racers over the coming eight stages.
Jan Fojtik (CZE), whose older brother Ondrej won the Crocodile Trophy in 2008 also proved to be in top form and said he enjoyed the course layout, “I like such technical trails and today’s race was great fun. But my brother warned me that anything can happen at the Crocodile Trophy, we still have eight days ahead of us.” Like so many others, today’s third, the Austrian Wolfgang Krenn, agreed, “I think the real race starts tomorrow. The steep climbs towards Copperlode Dam will be the first endurance test for the field.” The Canadian Marathon National Champion Cory Wallace was content with his fourth place today and said that his goal was to race consistent until the long and hot Outback stages on day five and six, which will take them over 163km Mt Mulligan to Granite Creek Dam and then to Laura on a 116km stage where a 50km time trial will be held for stage seven.
Fastest Australian leader jersey goes to Rankine
With Mark Frendo wearing the overall race leader’s jersey at tomorrow’s stage two start at the Cairns Esplande, Steven Rankine, currently fifth in the general classification, was again awarded the leader jersey for the best Australian in the race, a title he claimed in last year’s event as well. The Master leader jersey went to Johan Schrauwen from Belgium and in the women’s field, Liesbeth Hessens (BEL) won ahead of Maria Cristina Prati (ITA) and Giordana Sordi (ITA). Hessens will start tomorrow’s stage with a 15:34 minute lead. In the Adventure Team classification the Cairns local team with Jon Standage and Brendon Skerke is took the lead.
Stage two will take the Crocodile Trophy peloton out of Cairns in a neutral ride to the official race start at a look-out high above the town towards Copperlode Dam. Riders will assemble at the Cairns Esplanade from 8:30am with the inofficial stage two start at 9:30am. The first finishers are expected to arrive at Lake Tinaroo near Atherton at 1:30pm. For more information, visit www.crocodile-trophy.com
1. Mark Frendo (AUS) / #12 / 1:30:14
2. Jan Fojtik (CZE) / #7 / Symbio+ Giant / 1:31:20 / +1:06
3. Wolfgang Krenn (AUT) / #1 / Zwillingscraft Stevens – SC Knauf Liezen / 1:31:52 / +1:38
4. Cory Wallace (CAN) / #2 / Kona-MBC / 1:34:04 / +3:49
5. Steve Rankine (AUS) / #4 / Tenni’s – Cairns Home Loans / 1:35:11 / +4:57
1. Liesbeth Hessens (BEL) / #93 / 1:53:53
2. Maria Cristina Prati (ITA) / #95 / GS Cicli Matteoni FRW / 2:09:28 / +15:34
3. Giordana Sordi (ITA) / #91 / SKYsport-Italy / 2:12:05 / +18:11
4. Anne-Mette Mortensen / #92 / Team Fit 4 Run / 2:16:48
Master 1 (30+):
1. Johan Schrauwen (BEL) / #31 / Houtambacht – Who killed Joe? / 1:37:26
2. Mario Färberböck (AUT) / #11 / Bikepalast.com / 1:38:04 / +38 sec.
3. Kristof Schrauwen (BEL) / 20 / Houtambacht – Who killed Joe? / 1:41:23 / +3:56
Master 2 (40+):
1. Hamish Morrin (NZL) / #50 / 1:45:05
2. Hans Planckaert (BEL) / #40 / Smart Cycling Team / 1:46:38 / +1:32
3. Christian Wenger (AUT) / #56 / bikepalast / 1:47:08 / +2:02
Master 3 (50+)
1. Peter Selkrig (AUS) / #71 / Il Pastaio Rocky Trail Racing / 1:47:30
2. Daniele Bertozzi (ITA) / #81 / GS Cicli Matteoni FRW / 1:49:56 / +2:26
3. Simon Gillett (AUS) / #70 / Amy Gillett Foundation / 2:04:20 / +16:50