In a repeat of his 2005 performance, Belgian Christophe Stevens kicked off his 2006 Crocodile Trophy Campaign with a tempting 15km prologue victory on the palm-fringed beach at Townsville in Tropical North Queensland on October 17. Under dark, wet skies in the sweaty tropics, the former Chocolade Jacques pro road cyclist, who was unsure of his form until the midday race start, answered his own questions and those of fellow competitors by joining Austrian powerhouse Heinz Zorweg in a two man breakaway.
The pair, who on today's form, shape up as the two serious contenders for the 2006 Croc Trophy, blasted away the field of 43 riders (from 14 countries), to gain more than a minute on GC, not that the margin will matter with twelve punishing stages and 1400 kilometres ahead. "It was really hard compared to last year, the wind was just the opposite," Stevens said. "The beach was so hard on the legs."
Austrian Dominique Angerer, one of two women competing in this year's Croc Trophy was the first woman to finish in 23rd place outright.
The race through Australian Outback runs through October 29th.