Just about a month ago, the 17th Crocodile Trophy finished with victories by Dutchman Jeroen Boelen and Australian Jessica Douglas. But the 2012 edition of the race won't look like the one that just finished. It will be shorter and will include more technical terrain.
The 2012 Crocodile Trophy will start in Far North Queensland on October 20 with a bang: for the first time, the World Cup tracks at Smithfield in Cairns will be included for stage 1. The 30km race course on the technically challenging terrain will also allow local Australian and New Zealand riders to race with the international Crocodile Trophy crowd, and there are plans to open up stage 2 from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo to the public as well.
From Cairns, the following eight days will challenge the technical skills of participants more than ever previously. "The stages will be shorter, however, they will include considerably more mountain bike tracks," said event organizer Gerhard Schönbacher. The race is famous for including large sections of gravel roads, many of which are extremely rough.
Furthermore, a time trial in the historic mining town of Irvinebank will add some variety.
Overall, the participants will ride 866km, with the longest stage covering 136km.
The Outback will continue to be centre-stage with the cattle station at Mt. Mulligan, Mitchell River and the Bicentennial National Trail all being included in the stage plan of the race through the Australian bush. In addition, the legendary stage through the "Quinken Aboriginal Reserver" from Maytown to Laura will be revived and included after a 10-year hiatus.
In addition to the individual and team of three classifications, another category will be offered in 2012. The "Croc Adventure" team category will be for teams of two (male, female or mixed). The participants in this category are required to ride together and come across the finish line each day not more than two minutes apart from each other.
"With this category, team spirit and mutual support are in the spotlight," said organizer Schönbacher. "After all, most of the times, together you are stronger. When it comes to mechanicals or endurance lows, the team partners can help and push each other, and there is also always someone to rely on to draft with."
This year's exceptional performances of tandem riders from Italy and Belgium have prompted the organizers include this category in the program for 2012 again.
The field limit has been increased to 200 riders to avoid individual and team racers missing out on racing spots. Thus a crowd of 300 athletes, supporters and organizational crew will arrive at the Crocodile Trophy finish line on October 28, 2012. The race will wrap up on Grassy hill in Cooktown, the historic landing site of Captain Cook.
2012 Crocodile Trophy
October 20: Stage 1 - Cairns - Smithfield, 30km
October 21: Stage 2 - Cairns - Lake Tinaroo, 92km
October 22: Stage 3 - Atherton - Irvinebank, 125km
October 23: Stage 4 - Irvinebank, 40km (time trial)
October 24: Stage 5 - Irvinebank - Mt. Mulligan, 115km
October 25: Stage 6 - Mt. Mulligan - St.Georg Out, 136km
October 26: Stage 7 - St.Georg Out - Maytown, 110km
October 27: Stage 8 - Maytown - Laura, 82km
October 28: Stage 9 - Laura Cooktown, 136 km