The Swiss Bull, Urs Huber, claimed today’s stage win at Lake Tinaroo ahead of Denmark’s National Marathon Champion Sören Nissen and yesterday’s winner, Nicholas Pettina (ITA). The Australian XCM Champion Brendan Johnston finished in fourth with double-Crocodile Trophy winner Ondrej Fojtik from the Czech Republic. The Australian elite female, Sarah White, increased her race lead in the women’s to a respectable 23 minutes, winning her second consecutive stage ahead of Germany’s Regina Genser.
Today’s second stage of the Crocodile Trophy was a 74km marathon from Cairns onto the Atherton Tablelands. After a 12km neutral ride through the tropical city on a misty morning, the climbing started and the official race started just before Copperlode Dam, the town’s water reservoir. Being used to training and racing in the European Alps, the Swiss marathon athlete Urs Huber coped with the 1500m of elevation and early wet conditions well. After 2h28:13 he crossed the line, just half a minute ahead of the Dane Soren Nissen.
“After losing a bit of time yesterday, I knew today I’d get the chance to make up for it”, said Huber. “The Danish and Italian riders kept up with me all day and just before the finish I attacked and was able to stay ahead of Nissen”, he recounted.
The two had a good gap to yesterday’s winner from Italy, Nicholas Pettina who finished in just over two and a half hours with a gap of about five minutes. The Czech Ondrej Fojtik and Australia’s Brendan Johnston followed with a gap of almost seven minutes.
This result shakes things up in the overall standings – Huber takes over the race lead and has a gap of 1:24 minutes ahead of Nissen. Pettina is in third ahead of Johnston and Ondrej Fojtik.
Sarah White puts a line in the sand: 23 minute gap after two stages
In the women’s classification, Cairns racer Sarah White increased her gap to the German Regina Genser to 23 minutes. Coping with the conditions well and banking on her knowing the trails through the Dinden State Forest and Barron Creek National Park well she can rest easy tonight on the shores of the picturesque Lake Tinaroo.
Notably missing from today’s stage plan was the grueling climb over Mt Edith, which is dreaded by returning Crocodile Trophy racers. “We work closely together with local councils, mountain bike clubs and riders who always give us input about more ideal and sometimes new routes. Over the last three to four years our stage plan has evolved and has been very popular with our racers. But we like to keep it fresh and interesting too”, said organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher who founded this iconic race in 1994.
For now the Crocodile Trophy will set up camp in Atherton until Wednesday morning. After an 18km neutral ride from Lake Tinaroo to the town of Atherton, tomorrow’s stage will have two 27km loops in the Atherton Mountain Bike Park in store for the racers. With the typical Australian singletrack it has become one of the most popular cycling destinations in Australia. The race with then set up camp for two nights on a nearby farm for a classic 80km marathon through the Herberton State Forest on Tuesday.
STAGE 2: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 2h28:13
2. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 2h28:44 +00:31 sec
3. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 2h33:04 +04:51 min
4. Ondrej Fojtik (CZE) #17 // Force KCK / Progress Cycles // 2h35:06 +06:53 min
4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 2h35:06 +06:53 min
STAGE 2: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 3h42:07
2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 4h00:03 +17:56 min
OVERALL: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 4h02:14
2. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 4h03:37 +01:23 min
3. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 4h03:46 +01:32 min
4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 4h09:24 +07:10 min
5. Ondrej Fojtik (CZE) #17 // Force KCK / Progress Cycles // 4h11:50 +09:36 min
OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 5h35:46
2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 5h59:28 +23:42 min