Mulkens fulfills dream of winning a Croc Trophy Stage

Rybarik and Major defend overall leads with two stages remaining

Mike Mulkens achieved his life-long dream upon winning today's Crocodile Trophy stage into Maytown. After four years and 36 stages, he got his first stage win and the accompanying boomerang. in record temperatures reaching more than 45 degrees Celsius, Cory Wallace came in a close second, and Josef Benetseder finished third. With two stages to go, the overall classifications of both men and women's elite categories are still unchallenged with the Czech Ivan Rybarik and the Australian Kate Major, respectively leading.

Happy, emotional, excited, content - these and many more emotions were written across Mulkens' face, when he jumped off his bike at Maytown with his arms shooting into the air in victory. Racing at the Crocodile Trophy for the fourth time, it had been the Belgian amateur cyclist's life-long goal and dream to win a stage.

"Today, everything was perfect for me. Good legs, an early attack that worked, awesome riding mates that raced really well and for the first time in a Crocodile Trophy stage I kept telling myself to stay calm and patient and it worked. I can't believe it - I'm so happy!" said a beaming Mulkens at the finish. His 2012 race had started with bad luck with Mulkens suffering flat tires, a broken seat and fatigue on the technical and hot mountain bike stages. However, despite the extreme temperatures today he prevailed.

The morning started pleasantly cool with less than 15 degrees overnight and Mulkens attacked right away. Fellow Belgians Michiel Van Aelbroeck and Christof Marien as well as Wallace decided to go as well and with three more Austrians - Benetseder, Dominick Hrinkow and Patrick Konrad - they formed the breakaway group. In the meantime, the peloton kept riding at a steady pace and most leaders' jerseys were in it. It had taken them a long time to increase the gap to two minutes, said Mulkens after a refreshing swim in the nearby billabong, however, then the lead group, now without Marien, who fell back to the peloton on the steep climbs of the wide gravel roads, kept increasing their pace.

From the second feeding station Mulkens said, "I knew I had to give it all. On the last 30km, I really pushed hard and attacked. Cory stayed on my wheel and at a sandy and technical section just 5km before the finish, we were able to leave the Austrians and Van Aelbroeck behind and then I just smashed it." After more than three hours of racing, he was looking forward to "beer, chips and a party".

"I am really happy for Mike, he deserves this win," said second place getter Wallace. "Had it been an uphill finish, maybe I would have had an advantage. But it was slightly downhill and Mike had the better line on the finish straight and was the stronger sprinter." Benetseder finished in third with 3:11.24, followed by Van Aelbroeck and Konrad.

Preserving energy for second-last stage into Laura

"The plan among riders in the peloton had been to take it easy ahead of tomorrow's rough stage into Laura and to preserve as much energy as possible," said Wolfgang Krenn. Finishing in eighth place, his GC position won't be challenged and he was satisfied with his result and excited about Mulken's win. "We had a chat amongst each other in the bunch and a good ride together. The Crocodile Trophy is a race where you really get to know your fellow riders. That's why I'm really happy for Mike today - we rode a lot together during last year's race and he had asked me earlier this week how a stage win felt. We all knew how much he wanted a stage win. Now he can experience it himself and he deserves it," Krenn said.

It almost seems that today's stage has closed a chapter in the Crocodile Trophy's race history with Mulken's emotional win on the tip of everyone's tongue. Werner van der Merwe, M1 race leader said today that he himself had a comfortable gap among his field of competitors, but that he won't relax just yet. "At such an intense and long race, anything can happen. Look at Mike Mulkens - earlier this week he had flat tires and even a broken seat and was riding right at the back of the bunch. Today he wins a stage - you do need endurance, good legs, but also a bit of luck." The accountant added that he still couldn't believe that he was leading the M1 classification. "I came here for the adventure. I love riding my bike, because it takes my mind off the sometimes monotonous work I do. So really, I'm on a holiday here - my parents and my wife support me on this journey and what more could I ask for?"

Strong women's field impresses and has fun

Kate Major the successful tri- and endurance athlete is comfortably leading the general women's classification at the 2012 Crocodile Trophy. Today she said that she felt a bit of fatigue setting in but that she was still looking forward to the last two stages. "On the rides into Laura and Cooktown I'll see more places that I haven't been to, and I'm always up for an adventure!" she said.

Today, of the six women at the start, three started an hour before the entire Croc field. Not challenging the top three positions of Kate Major, Alice Pirard and Tinneke Van de Voorde, they got their own gun shot-start at 7:00 am and a head start in the cool of the morning.

While Annie van der Linde, the 55-year-old Dutch rider pushed ahead, the Australian Jade Forsyth and Kirsten De Keyser rode together all the way to the finish. "I was happy about the early start because it meant that after some time the top riders started to overtake us and it was so exciting to see at what high speeds they race," said De Keyser. "They were so encouraging, saying 'Come on you're doing great' and some even slapped my bum and pushed me along a bit - but I didn't mind, it was actually really motivating and you feel part of the race." It had been nice to talk about "girl stuff", she said. "You know, about sore bums and what else hurts by now, but also about our personal life and we really got to know each other."

De Keyser said that on most of the previous days she had been riding at the back of the bunches and would probably get the "wooden spoon trophy" in the end, but that you also experienced some fun moments. "The depot crew is always good value - the other day, as they had packed up and started overtaking me towards the finish, they actually drove level with me and a girl opened the window presenting me with a plate full of extra muesli bars and fruit. And at the depots they treat me like a queen, filling my water bottles, massaging my legs or waving paper at me for a breeze," she said with a big smile about her days out on the bike.

Forsyth from Australia agreed that it had been fun to share a day out at the Crocodile Trophy with a fellow female rider. "We talked about life and our hobbies and it was awesome to see the fast boys go past and to being able to cheer them on," said the insurance broker. Of the remaining two stages, she added that tomorrow's stage into Laura she expected a lot of rough and rocky sections, but as a passionate mountain biker she felt confident. "The last day is going to be really long. Straight main roads and a head wind at the end, but I hope, maybe we'll find some gentlemen who will ride with us and give us some rest in their slipstream for the final kilometres of this race."

Stage 8

Riding towards civilisation again, the riders will arrive at Laura tomorrow after 87km and 1300 m of elevation.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mike Mulkens (Bel)3:10:21 
2Cory Wallace (Can)0:00:01 
3Josef Benetseder (Aut) Team Eybl-Gastrogas.at0:01:03 
4Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Bel) O2 Bikers - WMTB.be - Schwalbe  
5Patrick Konrad (Aut)0:02:21 
6Matthew Page (GBr)0:06:19 
7Dominick Hrinkow (Aut)0:08:28 
8Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:11:06 
9Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE  
10Ritchie Motke (Ned)0:11:07 
11Paul Mashford (Aus) Tenni's / SKM  
12Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE0:11:09 
13Ondrej Fojtik (Cze)0:11:10 
14Steven Rankine (Aus) Tenni's / SKM0:13:02 
15Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/marathonMTB.com0:13:53 
16Guillaume Bourgeois (Swi)0:17:22 
17Evan Corry (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 10:19:33 
18Luke Haines (Aus)0:34:38 
19Peter Fröhlich (Aut) Rams Cycling Black tusk0:36:54 
20Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/marathonMTB.com0:40:50 
21Tommy Arnoldy (Lux) CT Toproad Roeserbann 021:05:48 
22Sebastian Einsle (Lux) CT Toproad Roeserbann 011:05:49 
23Stefan Hackl (Aut)1:14:50 
24Francis Ransley (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 21:15:03 
25Lukas Babor (Cze)1:21:05 
26Evert Desmidt (Bel)1:44:55 
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kate Major (Aus)3:37:34 
2Alice Pirard (Bel) O2 Bikers - WMTB.be - Schwalbe0:19:41 
3Tinneke Van de Voorde (Bel)1:34:33 
4Annie van der linde (Ned)1:40:42 
5Jade Forsyth (Aus)2:12:42 
6Kirsten De Keyser (Bel)2:12:43 
M1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Werner van der Merwe (GBr) Subaru/marathonMTB.com3:21:29 
2Henri Delheye (Bel) WACKY0:02:43 
3Davy Blancquaert (Bel) Belgium F-16 Ridley Team0:02:44 
4Wesley Reibel (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 10:04:58 
5Bjorn De Baets (Bel) WACKY0:06:09 
6Jeremy Ross (Aus) Crocodile Tears0:08:26 
7David Osmond (Aus) Crocodile Tears0:16:02 
8Michal Kafka (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE0:19:33 
9Raf De Bakker (Bel) Belgian Connections MTB Team0:19:35 
10Stephen Jackson (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 20:33:33 
11Peter Lister (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 20:36:09 
12David Carrillo (Spa)0:40:04 
13Christophe Heinix (Bel) Team Lingier-Versluys-Beachbikers  
14Kris Hendrickx (Bel) Belgium F-16 Ridley Team0:45:08 
15Ken De Trogh (Bel) Belgium F-16 Ridley Team  
16Barry Sey (Bel) Wacky Immobilia Team0:48:47 
17Lukas Mraz (Cze)0:50:15 
18Wim Verheyen (Bel)0:56:59 
19Kris Van De Putte (Bel)0:57:36 
20Martin Wisata (Aut) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master1:03:40 
21Pieter van der Eijk (Ned)1:07:41 
22Ryan Corry (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 11:07:45 
23Gunter Selleslagh (Bel)1:23:47 
24Christof Marien (Bel)1:28:37 
25Mathias Deleu (Bel)1:56:06 
DNFJason Chalker (Aus) Crocodile Tears  
M2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marc Baechli (Swi)3:28:51 
2Bart De Boeck (Bel)0:03:12 
3Stephen Billington (Aus) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master0:08:40 
4Peter Urdl (Aut)0:18:23 
5Bart Heirewegh (Bel)0:21:26 
6Alain De Munter (Bel) Fietsen Mertens0:21:59 
7Johan Frooninckx (Bel) Belgian Connections MTB Team  
8Brendon Skerke (Aus) Tenni's / SKM0:24:50 
9Peter Roelands (Bel)0:24:51 
10Guy Sorensen (Aus) Superior Screens0:28:27 
11Jakob Steen-Petersen (Den) HMTBK SRAM0:37:38 
12Hans Planckaert (Bel) Smart Cycling Team0:37:55 
13Rik Rohart (Bel)0:50:14 
14James Heron (Aus) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master0:53:43 
15Nicholas Westwood (Aus) Koiled imports /cleanskin coffee racing0:56:52 
16Bohuslav Babor (Cze)1:02:35 
17Johny Thielemans (Bel)1:03:16 
18Stefan Plas (Bel)1:08:43 
19Allen Liversage (RSA)1:27:38 
20Alex Moonen (Bel) ATB kempen1:31:04 
21Jaroslav Hrdlicka (Cze)1:36:37 
22Peter Stubbe (Bel) Wacky Immobilia Team1:52:14 
23Sven Demunter (Bel) Wacky 2XL-team2:18:53 
24Thierry Ide (Bel) Wacky 2XL-team  
25Barto Du Plessis (Aus)2:34:55 
26Kelly Duhig (Aus)  
27Chris Neal (Aus)2:34:56 
DNFPaul Fitzgerald (Bel) Wacky 2XL-team  
M3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Milan Spolc (Cze)3:30:30 
2Freddy Cassiers (Bel)0:22:18 
3Sam Sprunger (Swi) GVFI Fleisch gibt Kraft0:23:14 
4Freddy Vekens (Bel)0:28:55 
5Johannes Sewald (Ger) bavarian-riders  
6Ruedi Senn (Swi) Top Müller.ch0:31:03 
7Erik Defillet (Bel) Fitopia Bikers0:45:38 
8Rudy Motke (Ned)0:53:51 
9Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)0:56:48 
10Robrecht De Meyer (Bel) Fitopia Bikers0:58:41 
11Manfred Ertl (Ger) bavarian-riders1:05:03 
12Georg Schollerer (Ger) bavarian-riders  
13Luc Janssens (Bel)1:25:09 
14Guy Vandijck (Bel)2:25:17 
15Philippe Maertens (Bel) Belgian Connections MTB Team2:25:19 
16Robert de la Motte (Aus)2:35:31 
CA M1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pierre Paligot (Bel) CROCO RR Team Habay5:15:31 
1Dirk Abeloos (Bel) CROCO RR Team Habay5:15:32 
CA Man
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Griffin (Aus) Rubena RockyTrail Racing3:24:12 
1Aaron Lakeman (Aus) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing3:24:13 
2Filip Kuzniak (Pol) Team KUBIS Gomola Trans Airco0:21:49 
2Szymon Wojciech Zacharski (Pol) Team KUBIS Gomola Trans Airco  
Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
4Patrick Konrad (Aut)5 pts
5Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Bel) O2 Bikers - WMTB.be - Schwalbe10 
6Josef Benetseder (Aut) Team Eybl-Gastrogas.at15 
7Cory Wallace (Can)20 
12Mike Mulkens (Bel)25 
Elite men general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE25:29:09 
2Ondrej Fojtik (Cze)0:12:14 
3Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:43:17 
4Cory Wallace (Can)1:08:45 
5Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE1:09:40 
6Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Bel) O2 Bikers - WMTB.be - Schwalbe1:21:55 
7Steven Rankine (Aus) Tenni's / SKM1:36:24 
8Dominick Hrinkow (Aut)1:51:12 
9Matthew Page (GBr)2:14:53 
10Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/marathonMTB.com2:27:45 
11Paul Mashford (Aus) Tenni's / SKM2:33:34 
12Ritchie Motke (Ned)2:45:04 
13Josef Benetseder (Aut) Team Eybl-Gastrogas.at3:00:17 
14Evan Corry (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 13:20:35 
15Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/marathonMTB.com3:53:32 
16Luke Haines (Aus)4:31:33 
17Mike Mulkens (Bel)4:51:09 
18Patrick Konrad (Aut)5:28:44 
19Guillaume Bourgeois (Swi)5:30:06 
20Peter Fröhlich (Aut) Rams Cycling Black tusk5:53:44 
21Francis Ransley (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 210:27:47 
22Tommy Arnoldy (Lux) CT Toproad Roeserbann 0210:46:28 
23Sebastian Einsle (Lux) CT Toproad Roeserbann 0111:09:31 
24Stefan Hackl (Aut)11:10:05 
25Lukas Babor (Cze)12:13:19 
26Evert Desmidt (Bel)13:11:15 
Elite women general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kate Major (Aus)31:45:57 
2Alice Pirard (Bel) O2 Bikers - WMTB.be - Schwalbe2:10:06 
3Tinneke Van de Voorde (Bel)8:44:30 
4Annie van der linde (Ned)13:01:28 
5Jade Forsyth (Aus)14:01:52 
6Kirsten De Keyser (Bel)18:34:01 
M1 general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Werner van der Merwe (GBr) Subaru/marathonMTB.com26:33:07 
2Jeremy Ross (Aus) Crocodile Tears0:52:17 
3Henri Delheye (Bel) WACKY1:05:16 
4Raf De Bakker (Bel) Belgian Connections MTB Team2:18:19 
5David Osmond (Aus) Crocodile Tears2:44:55 
6Wesley Reibel (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 12:45:29 
7Michal Kafka (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE2:59:15 
8Davy Blancquaert (Bel) Belgium F-16 Ridley Team3:29:04 
9Bjorn De Baets (Bel) WACKY4:03:44 
10Kris Hendrickx (Bel) Belgium F-16 Ridley Team4:06:19 
11Ken De Trogh (Bel) Belgium F-16 Ridley Team4:06:20 
12Peter Lister (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 24:37:36 
13Christophe Heinix (Bel) Team Lingier-Versluys-Beachbikers4:51:51 
14David Carrillo (Spa)5:04:58 
15Christof Marien (Bel)6:39:54 
16Stephen Jackson (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 27:00:08 
17Barry Sey (Bel) Wacky Immobilia Team7:03:26 
18Kris Van De Putte (Bel)7:31:17 
19Ryan Corry (Aus) RUOK Corry Cycles 17:37:10 
20Martin Wisata (Aut) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master9:04:27 
21Pieter van der Eijk (Ned)9:39:29 
22Lukas Mraz (Cze)10:12:57 
23Wim Verheyen (Bel)10:24:09 
24Mathias Deleu (Bel)16:42:37 
25Gunter Selleslagh (Bel)18:47:39 
M2 general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marc Baechli (Swi)27:55:40 
2Stephen Billington (Aus) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master1:24:04 
3Hans Planckaert (Bel) Smart Cycling Team1:24:16 
4Bart Heirewegh (Bel)1:45:25 
5Peter Urdl (Aut)2:24:57 
6Bart De Boeck (Bel)2:41:26 
7Alain De Munter (Bel) Fietsen Mertens2:58:40 
8Johan Frooninckx (Bel) Belgian Connections MTB Team3:10:46 
9Brendon Skerke (Aus) Tenni's / SKM4:00:49 
10Peter Roelands (Bel)4:11:36 
11Jakob Steen-Petersen (Den) HMTBK SRAM4:56:01 
12James Heron (Aus) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master4:58:26 
13Guy Sorensen (Aus) Superior Screens5:28:39 
14Rik Rohart (Bel)7:53:29 
15Nicholas Westwood (Aus) Koiled imports /cleanskin coffee racing8:10:01 
16Johny Thielemans (Bel)9:04:45 
17Bohuslav Babor (Cze)10:40:54 
18Alex Moonen (Bel) ATB kempen11:38:51 
19Allen Liversage (RSA)12:40:23 
20Peter Stubbe (Bel) Wacky Immobilia Team13:06:55 
21Stefan Plas (Bel)13:15:47 
22Jaroslav Hrdlicka (Cze)13:17:09 
23Kelly Duhig (Aus)17:20:56 
24Chris Neal (Aus)18:27:32 
25Thierry Ide (Bel) Wacky 2XL-team19:22:29 
26Sven Demunter (Bel) Wacky 2XL-team19:25:35 
27Barto Du Plessis (Aus)20:24:20 
M3 general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Milan Spolc (Cze)30:13:24 
2Ruedi Senn (Swi) Top Müller.ch1:59:50 
3Sam Sprunger (Swi) GVFI Fleisch gibt Kraft2:01:19 
4Freddy Cassiers (Bel)2:20:37 
5Johannes Sewald (Ger) bavarian-riders3:09:58 
6Robrecht De Meyer (Bel) Fitopia Bikers3:44:35 
7Erik Defillet (Bel) Fitopia Bikers4:43:39 
8Freddy Vekens (Bel)5:08:42 
9Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)5:51:33 
10Rudy Motke (Ned)6:46:02 
11Manfred Ertl (Ger) bavarian-riders6:59:15 
12Georg Schollerer (Ger) bavarian-riders7:11:04 
13Luc Janssens (Bel)10:29:31 
14Guy Vandijck (Bel)12:11:09 
15Philippe Maertens (Bel) Belgian Connections MTB Team13:15:09 
16Robert de la Motte (Aus)17:05:47 
CA M1 general classification after stage 7
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pierre Paligot (Bel) CROCO RR Team Habay43:48:48 
1Dirk Abeloos (Bel) CROCO RR Team Habay43:48:55 
CA Man
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mark Griffin (Aus) Rubena RockyTrail Racing28:35:13 
1Aaron Lakeman (Aus) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing28:35:24 
2Filip Kuzniak (Pol) Team KUBIS Gomola Trans Airco1:22:58 
2Szymon Wojciech Zacharski (Pol) Team KUBIS Gomola Trans Airco0:00:01 
Points classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE135 pts
2Ondrej Fojtik (Cze)100 
3Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)67 
4Cory Wallace (Can)50 
5Mike Mulkens (Bel)45 
6Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Bel) O2 Bikers - WMTB.be - Schwalbe40 
7Jason English (Aus) RUOK Rocky Tail Racing15 
7Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE15 
7Dominick Hrinkow (Aut)15 
7Josef Benetseder (Aut) Team Eybl-Gastrogas.at15 
11Werner van der Merwe (GBr) Subaru/marathonMTB.com10 
12Patrick Konrad (Aut)5 
Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE81:41:07 
2Subaru/marathonMTB.com2:00:13 
3Tenni\'s / SKM4:55:23 
4Belgium F-16 Ridley Team9:39:57 
5RUOK? Corry Cycles 112:09:46 
6Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Master16:10:17 
7RUOK? Corry Cycles 217:19:54 
8W acky Zilvertoren Team20:36:24 
9BELGIAN CONNECTIONS MTB TEAM T0920:46:29 
10X-sports.cz20:49:50 
11GER bavarian-riders27:01:17 
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