It's back! The wild country of Far North Queensland will once again play host to the 11th Crocodile Trophy (October 18th to 30th).
The 2005 Crocodile Trophy will feature teams from Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Australia, along with the perennially competitive and truly international Gatorade / Coopers Dream team, which is rumored to be featuring some yet to be revealed big name riders.
2004 winner Adam Hansen, the first Australian to ever claim the coveted Croc Trophy will make the journey from his new European training base to defend the title, but faces tough opposition from international rivals including Italy's Mauro Bettin and Czech Sibl Radoslav, among many others in the seventy rider field.
In contrast to last year's event which snaked its way from Darwin to Cairns across the Top End, the 2005 Crocodile Trophy will focus exclusively on the magnificent backdrop of Far North Queensland, from the rainforest to the remote outback. "There is no question, last year's Crocodile Trophy was the toughest on record, but that's not saying this year will be necessarilly any easier," Said Crocodile Trophy founder Gerhard Schoenbacher.
"Our focus is always on making this the world's most difficult off-road cycle race, which is why we have included more mountainous stages, along with the iconic outback country."
The 2005 Croc Trophy kicks off on October 18th with a prologue stage in Australia's Tropical Capital of Townsville, before heading bush via the spectacular mountain country of Paluma, Blencoe Falls and Ravenshoe.
Then it's on into the dusty dry outback country of lower Cape York - via Chillagoe, Mount Mulligan and Laura - until the riders reach the coast at Cooktown. The penultimate stage, arguably the most iconic of the race, will take competitors through the Daintree Rainforest along the legendary CREB track. At the end of 1400 brutal kilometres 'The Croc' as it has become known, will reach its conclusion in what can only be described as a tropical paradise, the place where presidents go to play, Four Mile Beach in ritzy Port Douglas!
"From the perspective of the European cyclists who come here for this event, I can assure you the Crocodile Trophy is like nothing they have ever before experienced," said race promoter Gerhard Schoenbacher. "The Danish team for example will come from 10 below zero in Copenhagen, then all of a sudden be racing in 35 to 40 degree heat, in some of the most rugged country on the planet... It is tough." The 'Pedal Tarvisiano' team from deep in Italy's mountainous north is among those returning in 2005, leaving behind the ski season to give its ace rider Paolo Salvatore Albano the support he needs for a tilt at the elusive Croc Trophy title.
The iconic television images of 'The Croc' will feature in a half-hour documentary that will go to air on European television immediately following the race, while in recent years the event has attracted an audience of millions via the Internet.
Naturally, Cyclingnews will join the race caravan, following the stories of heartbreak, despair, utter exhaustion and triumph which each year form the fabric of what is unquestionably one of cycling's most unique and iconic events.
Sponsors: Red Bull, Cratoni Helmets, The Lakes Resort Cairns and Quicksilver Barrier Reef Cruises.
- Stage 1 - Tuesday, October 18: Townsville - Townsville, 70km
- Stage 2 - Wednesday, October 19: Kirkland Downs - Paluma Dam, 112 km
- Stage 3 - Thursday, October 20: Paluma Dam - Lake Lucy, 148 km
- Stage 4 - Friday, October 21: Lake Lucy - Blancoe Falls, 134 km
- Stage 5 - Saturday, October 22: Blancoe Fall - Koombooloomba, 104 km
- Stage 6 - Sunday, October 23: Koombooloomba - Irvinebank, 98 km
- Stage 7 - Monday, October 24: Irvinebank - Chillagoe, 115 km
- Stage 8 - Tuesday, October 25: Chillagoe time trial, 30 km
- Stage 9 - Wednesday, October 26: Chillagoe - Mt. Mulgrave, 125 km
- Stage 10 - Thursday, October 27: Mt. Mulgrave - Laura, 138 km
- Stage 11 - Friday, October 28: Laura - Cooktown, 142 km
- Stage 12 - Saturday, October 29: Cooktown - Daintree, 139 km
- Stage 13 - Sunday, October 30: Port Douglas - Port Douglas, 45 km
Total distance: 1,400 km