The Austrian Lukas Islitzer won the longest stage of the 2015 Crocodile Trophy in a sprint finish by half a wheel-length ahead of the overall race leader, Urs Huber. The Czech double-Crocodile Trophy winner Ondrej Fojitik came third ahead of Soren Nissen and Brendan Johnston. Sarah White remains the fastest women in the rider field that had to endure temperatures in the high thirties and tonight is based at Skybury Coffee Plantation for a well-earned rest.
A lead group of five riders had quickly formed on the steep climb to Stannary Hill and from the technical downhill sections past the first two feedzones rode together all day. On the undulating course that followed they worked together to benefit from each other’s slipstreams on the flat sections: overall leader Urs Huber, a strong Lukas Islitzer, Ondrej Fojtik, the double-Crocodile Trophy Champion, Denmark’s Soren Nissen and Brendan Johnston in the Australia leader jersey.
Speaking to Johnston, he explained that Pettina had lead solo for an early portion of the race, but then flatted in a rougher area. As the front group worked well together on the flat, he was able to capitalise on Pettina’s flat, and consolidate his third place on GC
The last kilometre into Skybury coffee plantation had a final technical singletrack in store for them and Islitzer decided the sprint finish against the other four competitors for his first stage win at this year’s Crocodile Trohpy. He couldn’t have been happier.
“This is a dream come true. I’ve been racing way above my expectations at this event and I’ve been working really hard every day, racing with the leaders and today’s win is just brilliant! I’m very happy”, said the beaming Upper Austrian at the finish.
Urs Huber who still holds a very comfortable overall lead of more than 16 minutes to Nissen, congratulated Islitzer to the stage win.
“Today I rode a tactical race. I’ve been dominating the lead group over the last few days and didn’t want to risk anything. But the pace was very high in our lead group of five and if anyone had attacked, I would have had to react”, he said of today’s race. He added that the group had worked together really well and the last kilometre of technical singletrack before the finish was tough after more than 120km in the saddle, especially in the scorching midday heat.
“Lukas Islitzer took the win in a sprint in the end and is a deserving stage winner”, Huber said. The overall top five positions remain unchanged, with Nissen in second, Brendan Johnston in third, followed by Pettina and Islitzer.
Crocodile Trophy heading back towards the coast
The Crocodile Trophy has set up camp for the night at the tropical Skybury Coffee Plantation. The family owned business is Australia’s oldest coffee producing plantation and its largest exporter of home grown coffee. With mild winters and warm summers the conditions are ideal and the plantation also grows tropical fruit: papayas, bananas and longans are on the menu for the Crocodile Trophy racers tonight.
Tomorrow’s elevation profile looks feisty with 1400m. The 101km marathon stage will take them even further north past the Kuranda National Park to Wetherby Station, the oldest cattle farm in Australia.
STAGE 7: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Lukas Islitzer (AUT) #20 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 3h57:10.4
2. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 3h57:11.2 +0.8 sec
3. Ondrej Fojtik (CZE) #17 // FORCE KCK – Progress Cycles // 3h57:15.6 +5.2 sec
4. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 3h57:20.7 +10.3 sec
5. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 3h57:34.6 +24.2 sec
STAGE 7: TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 5h15:10
OVERALL: TOP RESULTS ELITE MEN:
1. Urs Huber (SUI) #3 // Team Bulls // 22h13:17
2. Sören Nissen (DEN) #8 // Stevens Racing Team // 22h30:06 16:49
3. Brendan Johnston (AUS) #4 // Trek Racing Australia // 22h44:22 31:05
4. Nicholas Pettina (ITA) #7 // Gruppo Sportivo Forestale // 23h00:32 47:15
5. Lukas Islitzer (AUT) #20 // CRAFT – Rocky Mountain Team // 23h04:51 51:34
OVERALL TOP RESULTS ELITE WOMEN:
1. Sarah White (AUS) #114 // Astute Financial Racing // 31h11:28
Further solo category leaders:
A Women: Kristin Endres (GER) #107 // lakatexpress.de // 32h31:36
A1 Men (U30): Evert Feyaerts (BEL) #30 // 28h06:11
A2 Men (30+): Christian Leschke (GER) #49 // Team Leschi // 25h35:37
A3 Men (40+): Bart Duraj (AUS) #61 // Astute Financial Racing // 26h04:01
A4 Men (50+): Garry James (AUS) #97 // Corry Cycles ACE Racing/Specialised // 26h57:5