In a plot line that could have been ripped from the pages of a cold war spy thriller, Slovenian soldier Jure Robic, a four-time solo winner of the Race Across America, almost managed to sneak into Australia beneath the radar.
Seriously injured a month ago in a racing crash, in which he sustained a broken collarbone and broken ribs, Robic was thought to be a definite non-starter until Crocodile Trophy organisers received a cryptic email just two days ago with the words, "I'm coming".
"Two days before I left, I didn't know if I could go on the plane, because the therapy was not working," Robic said.
The Slovenian hard-man has raced the Crocodile Trophy on four occasions and finished on the final race podium twice. He is just one half of a determined Slovenian assault on the 2009 race.
Fellow Slovenian Matej Mugerli, a former pro tour stage winner from his time at Liquigas, joined Robic for the journey to Australia.
"I decided to come here to help Matej Mugerli," Robic said, "but my goal remains the same, to win some stages and finish on the podium."
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