Urs Huber increased his lead at the 21st Crocodile Trophy with his fourth consecutive stage win ahead of Nicholas Pettina and Soren Nissen, with Brendan Johnston coming home in 4th. Unfortunately, Elite woman Regina Genser is out of the race due to a gastro problem. Overall women’s leader Sarah White from Australia says she wants to stay fastest woman in the race.
Many riders had been surprised by this year’s wet conditions at the Crocodile Trophy earlier in the week and today they were racing in the expected hot and dry temperatures, after crossing over the meteorological weather barrier that is the Great Dividing Range. So after three days of rain, showers and cool evenings today started with a climb through the Atherton MTB Park. Once again the Crocodile Trophy riders had to climb across the range and the riders then crossed Hastings Swamp National Park towards Herberton and via Silver Valley Road through mining country to Irvinebank. The conditions were heating up quickly and a lead group of the top four riders in the general elite men’s classification was able to stay ahead.
With the Crocodile Trophy moving further into the Outback, mobile and WiFi connections are fading and it was the race lead car that kept reporting back to base: the overall leader Urs Huber from Switzerland left nothing out on track today, racing together with Nicholas Pettina (ITA), Soren Nissen (DEN) and Brendan Johnston (AUS) until the 67km mark.
Historic Queensland Outback welcomes Crocodile Trophy
The stage brought the racers into dry and dusty mining country to Irvinebank, which is a historic town on the Western foothills of the Atherton Tablelands. Nowadays, Irvinebank has become a regular Crocodile Trophy stopover and offers our racers a glimpse of a village, which was once the centre of a vast mining empire.
On the wide open mining roads after the third feed zone it was Urs Huber then who broke away on the last 5-6km and his chasers reported that he was actually riding away from them on the downhills. With a race time of 3h45:01.6 he took a race lead of 1:01.2 min across the finish in Irvinebank and increased his overall lead to 6:19 min. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) again came in second ahead of Denmark’s Soren Nissen (+1:24.7 min) and Brendan Johnston (+3:10.9 min) from Canberra (AUS). The Austrian Islitzer was in fifth today (+12:31.7 min), winning an impressive finish sprint by a hair ahead of Czech racer Ondrej Fojtik (+12:31.8), fellow Austrian Matthias Grick (+12:32.1) and Spain’s Milton Ramos (+12:32.6), who stays in the top five overall.
Upset in Elite Women category: Regina Genser out with stomach bug
Regina Genser was notably absent from the start line-up this morning. Unfortunately the second-placed in the elite women’s from Germany had been feeling unwell during the night and needed to rest.
“It’s a real shame that Regina is out of the race”, said the leading elite woman, Sarah White after 5h32:31.9 at the finish in Irvinebank today. “I expected today and tomorrow to be stages that would really suit her and have not been looking forward to these two days”, White admitted.
After five days and at the half-way mark of this iconic race she definitely is benefiting from her ultra-endurance running background and added that she felt probably a bit more relaxed today, knowing that her biggest contender wasn’t chasing her. However, she said that despite being the only elite female in the general classification now, she was determined to stay the fastest woman in the field, referring to the strong amateur racer Kristin Endres from Germany, who finished 12 minutes behind her today.
The general classification will remain unchanged as the Crocodile Trophy will set up camp in Irvinebank for two nights. Tomorrow will be a marathon around Irvinebank and Urs Huber will have to keep working hard to defend his lead against some of the fastest mountain bikers in the world. On Friday, the Crocodile Trophy will head to Skybury Coffee Plantation.
STAGE 5: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 3h45:01.6
2. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 3h46:02.8 +1:01.2 min
3. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 3h46:26.3 +1:24.7 min
4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 3h48:12.5 +3:10.9 min
5. Lukas Islitzer (AUT) #20 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 3h57:33.3 +12:31.7 min
STAGE 5: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 5h32:31.9
OVERALL: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 14h08:46
2. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 14h15:05 +6:19 min
3. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 14h23:11 +14:25 min
4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 14h31:31 +22:45 min
5. Milton Ramos (ESP) #6 // Intense- Tow Car // 14h46:57 +38:11 min
OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 20h20:26
Further solo category leaders:
A Women: Kristin Endres (GER) #107 // lakatexpress.de // 21h15:48
A1 Men (U30): Evert Feyaerts (BEL) #30 // 18h14:16
A2 Men (30+): Christian Leschke (GER) #49 // Team Leschi // 16h05:50
A3 Men (40+): Bart Duraj (AUS) #61 // Astute Financial Racing // 16h44:30
A4 Men (50+): Garry James (AUS) #97 // Corry Cycles ACE Racing/Specialised // 17h23:15