Urs Huber scored his second stage win at the 2015 Crocodile Trophy ahead of the Australian Brendan Johnston and the Italian Nicholas Pettina. Sarah White stays in the overall women’s lead with a third consecutive stage win in Atherton today.
The most typical terrain that you would encounter as a mountain biker in Australia are narrow trails, lots of small pinch climbs and to make a local rider’s heart skip a beat, they are packed with rocky sections, tight corners, switchback climbs and big berms. The first reactions in the finish of the two top elite men’s finishers reflect this uniqueness nicely:
Urs Huber said that it was the toughest Crocodile Trophy stage he’d ever ridden and that’s coming from a two-time winner of this iconic race. “My whole body aches, especially my lower back, that was hard work today”, he said after a race time of 3h01:57.
With 39 seconds gap in second was Australia’s Marathon Champion, Brendan Johnston – according to him today “was exactly what I love about mountain biking – I’d rather do 100km on this sort of terrain than race on a road or fire trail”.
The 24-year old rider from Canberra, who is holding the leader jersey of the fastest Australian in the race, explained that it was his first stage race that runs over such a long distance and that his strategy was to take one day at a time. “Urs [Huber] and I raced together all day today and with 2km to go he attacked. My plan is to race a smart race, we still have six stages to go and the really long days are still ahead”, said Johnston, who kept his overall fourth spot.
Asked how he was coping with the Crocodile Trophy camp life he said that it was an additional challenge, because you had to be organised, but that he enjoyed it. “I’ve heard so much about this event in the past and this is all part of it.”
Italy’s Nicholas Pettina was again in third with a gap of 2:39.6 min to Huber. He praised the trails and said he enjoyed the race in Atherton and that he was content to still get a podium spot today and moves up the overall ranking into second spot ahead of Denmark’s Soren Nissen, who finished fifth today behind Spain’s Milton Ramos.
Sarah White still feeling strong after stage three
The Cairns local racer was again in her element today. “This was just too much fun today”, she beamed after 4h06:24 back at the event centre. “Don’t get me wrong, it was tough and when we were on top of the first climb rain set in, which made some of the rocks really slippery. It took all my skill to stay upright and I’m glad I could keep my lead”, she admitted and added that she was respectful ahead of tomorrow’s stage in the Herberton State Forest and even though she now has a 37:26 minute lead, she indicated that she was still watching two German women closely.
One of them is the elite Regina Genser, who finished in second with a gap of 13:44 min today. Still buzzing with excitement she recounted her race in the finish: two crashes, a flat tyre and a slipped chain, but she said she was happy and still couldn’t believe what was on the menu for the riders today, “I’ve never ridden so much singletrack in one go ever! You don’t get that in Europe anywhere, especially not in a marathon, what an experience!” She added that tomorrow’s stage should suit her, “I don’t mind climbing.”
Strong field of amateur riders impresses also in overall rankings
The second rider to watch is Kristin Endres, the amateur female racer from Darmstadt who actually held the second position outright among the women after yesterday’s stage. A considerable number of riders suffered mechanicals on the tough terrain, she said, but was spared herself. “I love riding on single trails and in the forests near my home and the second half of today’s loop was so scenic and pretty – I was flying, it felt like dancing. But it was tough and towards the end it was almost overwhelming”, she said. Today she finished in 4h29:32.6 and leads the women’s amateur category by almost one and a half hours. These women don’t leave anything out on track and are racing hard every day.
The leader jersey for the amateur men stays with Germany’s Christian Leschke from Nuremberg; he leads ahead of fellow A2/30+ racers from Australia, Lincoln Carolan (+59 sec) and Bart Duraj (+12:30 min).
Tomorrow’s stage profile includes massive climbs taking the riders from Atherton onto the top of the Great Dividing Range in the Herberton State Forest and will be a classic 80km marathon with 2200m of elevation.
STAGE 3: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 3h01:57.0
2. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 3h02:35.8 +38.8 min
3. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 3h04:36.6 +2:39.6 min
4. Milton Ramos (ESP) #6 // Intense- Tow Car // 3h06:59.2 +5:02.2 min
5. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 3h07:19.0 +5:22.0 min
STAGE 3: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 4h06:24.0
2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 4h20:08.0 +13:44.0 min
OVERALL: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 7h04:11
2. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 7h08:22 +4:11 min
3. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 7h10:56 +6:45 min
4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 7h11:59 +7:48 min
5. Milton Ramos (ESP) #6 // Intense- Tow Car // 7h17:29 +13:18 min
OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 9h42:10
2. Regina Genser (GER) #113 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 10h19:36 +37:26 min