European mountain biking's elder statesman, former world and Olympic champion Bart Brentjens, yesterday confirmed his place at the start line for the 2010 edition of Australia's Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race.
The Dutchman struggled to acclimatise to the merciless climbs of the opening stage from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo in his debut race last year and finished second to Swiss champion Urs Huber. He announced his intention to avenge his defeat in the 2010 edition of the race.
Inking a deal with the founder of the Trek-Bart Brentjens Racing last week in Vienna, Austria, Crocodile Trophy race owner Gerhard Schönbacher confirmed that the Dutch marathon champion would once again confront the opening 98km stage with 3,000 metres of climbing and 20 percent gradients in an attempt to add a Crocodile Trophy victory to his already full palmarès.
"As an organisation, we are both delighted and honoured to welcome Bart Brentjens to the Crocodile Trophy in 2010," said Schönbacher. "Bart brings to the race qualities of a true champion with a mix of supreme professionalism, sportsmanship and humility and he will once again be a great example to both the professionals and the amateurs in the Crocodile Trophy of 2010."
"With both the 2009 race winner Huber and the third-placed Belgian Mike Mulkens also confirmed in their participation for 2010, all the podium finishers from last year will be present when the race starts in Australia's tropical capital of Cairns on October 19.
The 2010 parcours will mostly mirror the 2009 route, with one key change being a competitive individual time trial featuring the gruelling climbs of Australia's Daintree Rainforest on the final day.
"Given the terrain, it is possible the 38km time trial will decide the race at the end of 10 days and 1,200 kilometres of racing," Schönbacher added.
According to the race tradition, when the time trial ends on Thursday October 28, the overall winner will nominate a rider whose spirit best captures the Crocodile Trophy to lead the peloton onto the beach at Cape Tribulation, where the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest meets Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
2010 Crocodile Trophy
Stage 1: Cairns - Lake Tinaroo, 98km (1250m elevation)
Stage 2: Lake Tinaroo - Mt. Mulligan, 122 km (1100m elevation)
Stage 3: Mt. Mulligan - Irvinebank, 128 km (1450m elevation)
Stage 4: Irvinebank - Chillagoe, 162km (1280m elevation)
Stage 5: Chillagoe - Chillagoe, 100km (850m elevation)
Stage 6: Chillagoe - Mt. Mulgrave, 138km (1660m elevation)
Stage 7: Mt. Mulgrave - Laura, 151km (1100m elevation)
Stage 8: Laura - Cooktown, 142km (1050m elevation)
Stage 9: Cooktown - Ayton, 122km (1900m elevation)
Stage 10: Ayton - Cape Tribulation (time trial), 38km (920m elevation)