Urs Huber crossed the line as overall victor for the 5th time of the Crocodile Trophy in Port Douglas over the weekend in one of the closest ever margins in the race’s 24 year history. Australia’s Sarah White took the Women’s title the 2nd ever overall Croc victory for the ultra endurance athlete from Cairns.
The experienced ultra-endurance racer Sarah White is the Elite Women’s winner by 32:34 minutes ahead of fellow Australian and ex road-pro Lucy Coldwell, finishing in 13th place outright. She said, “I really enjoyed this race, there was great competition among us women and a second Crocodile Trophy victory means a lot to me.” It had been a close race in the women’s field with Sarah along with former road pro’s Lucy Coldwell and Sjouke Dufoer taking share of the stage wins of the 8 day Croc. Dufoer had clearly picked her stages with wins in both stage 5 and 6 of this year’s tour. Sarah White showed she was the strongest for the whole tour though with victory on stage 7 where she really stamped her authority onto the overall result. Fellow Aussie Lucy Coldwell was within reach of the overall victory for most of the tour and her efforts were rewarded with 2nd place ahead of Dufoer in 3rd overall.
The men’s overall was within mere seconds all the way to the finish line in Port Douglas. this year’s tour had proved to be a battle of the Swiss with compatriots Konny Looser and Urs Huber neck and neck all week. Looser seemingly having the edge on the early climbing stages and Huber showing his strength taking the lead on the stage 4 Time Trial and holding that gap over the reamining flatter stages. “I’m extremely happy about this victory and that I achieved what I set out to at the start of this race”, said Urs Huber of his record-breaking fifth victory today. He explained that this was his sixth participation in 10 years and that a lot had changed in the event. “It used to be a road racers competition with long Outback highways and is now an event where you need to be an all-rounder, however, what is still the same is the fierce competition at the front end. You need to be a good technical rider, but know how to ride a tactical race too”, he said and that he had gone up and succeeded against the likes of Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens from the Netherlands. This year had been tough as well with fellow Swiss racer Konny Looser a strong contender. “I went into this race fully focused, all that counted was the overall win”, he explained his strategy, which got him the win by one minute overall.
Konny Looser took the victory on the final stage and in doing so won the points classification for most stage wins and 2nd overall. 3rd was the Luxembourg national title holder Soren Nissen ahead of best placed Austrian Matthias Grick in 4th and Czech rider Milan Damek in 5th. Full results here.
The Crocodile Trophy took racers from 16 different nationalities including 18 Australians on a spectacular eight-day stage plan through Tropical North Queensland with almost 700 km and more than 15,000 meters of elevation. Last Saturday they had started with a marathon from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo and day two and three they spent in Herberton and the surrounding Herberton Range National Parks. For the 16th time the Crocodile Trophy made a stopover in Irvinebank before heading North to Skybury Coffee for two nights. Wetherby Station hosted the event yesterday and today was a 50km race to Port Douglas, finishing with a fast descent down the escarpment towards the coast on the infamous Bump Track.
All racers gathered after the official timing finish outside of town and rode towards the finish line on Four Mile Beach together in memoriam of the four-time Crocodile Trophy finisher and longtime mentor of the event, Greg Parr. The Cairns cycling icon passed away earlier this year and the Crocodile Trophy finished in his honour today. A multiple race finisher herself, Greg’s wife Sharmie led the riders along Four Mile Beach.
“Greg has been greatly missed by all this year, he was always there to help us when we needed him”, said Crocodile Trophy founder Gerhard Schönbacher today. “He would have loved seeing us all arrive at the finish line together and I am so proud of all our competitors and their efforts this year”, he concluded.
The Crocodile Trophy will return to Tropical North Queensland from 12 – 19th October 2019. Check www.croctrophy.com for details and to enter.