Rybarik returns to Crocodile Trophy with opening stage win

Slezak starts off as top Australian

The first stage of the Crocodile Trophy UCI S1 stage race was held in Cairns' Smithfield MTB Park. In one of the strongest fields of the event's history, the 2012 Crocodile Trophy Champion Ivan Rybarik from the Czech Republic won the elite men's category ahead of Spain's Milton Ramos and Greg Saw from Norway. Sydney's Imogen Smith was the fastest woman of the day and Ondrej Slezak took out the Australian leader's jersey.

Almost 100 riders were at the start at the Smithfield MTB Park and amongst them were 22 riders that had signed up for the official UCI elite men's and women's categories. After a clear victory at the 2012 Crocodile Trophy, Ivan Rybarik who then received the nickname "Ivanator" for his strong performance especially on the steep hill climbs, was able to stand his ground with a race time of 1:36:11, even in the high-profile elite men's field that was seeded with UCI marathon title holders from around the world.

"I felt good today - a lot has changed [over the past two years], my wife and I have two small children now, so I wasn't able to prepare myself as thoroughly as in 2012", said a surprised, yet confident Rybarik today. "Tomorrow this race starts for real, there are almost 100km and over 2200m of climbing between us and Lake Tinaroo," he said of tomorrow's second stage, which will lead the riders out of the tropical City of Cairns onto the Atherton Tablelands.

New Aussie gets leader jersey, favourites struggle

In a major upset in the elite men's category, the Portugese Olympian David Rosa suffered from a severe mechanical issue two laps into the race. He had been hot on Rybarik's wheel for two laps and having to walk most of the remaining race he then dropped into last place. Milton Ramos from Spain caught up and crossed the finish line with a gap of 43 seconds as second ahead of Greg Saw from Kongsberg in Norway.

Yuki Ikeda was fifth behind the Dutch marathon racer and Noordwijk beach race winner, Ramses Bekkenk, and was satisfied with today's placing. "Hey, this was my first cross country race of the year, tomorrow I'll be more in my element," the reigninig Japanese National Marathon Champion said of the short first stage.

Last year's runner-up Cory Wallace was disappointed with a seventh place behind today's best Australian, Ondrej Slezak. "I've just been on the road a lot lately, but tomorrow's a new day," the Canadian National Marathon Champion said confidently.

Slezak, who has immigrated from the Czech Republic and is racing the Crocodile Trophy for the third time just recently had received the Australian Citizenship and was excited to receive the leader's jersey to represent his new country. "I'm proud to wear this Australian leader's jersey - I'm here with a team of eight riders and Ivan [Rybarik] just got us the race lead, Michal [Kafka] and Andrew [Lloyd] are leading their age classifications as well - I couldn't be happier right now," the avid mountain bike marathon racer from Sydney beamed at the finish.

The fact that a record field of Australians is participating in the Crocodile Trophy this year showed in the podium placings: All amateur classifications were claimed by Australians and with a race time of just over two hours, Imogen Smith from Sydney will be at the start tomorrow, wearing the official Women's leader jersey.

Stage 2 will be a 85km (97km) marathon with a neutral race start in Cairns at 9:30am to Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands.

Full Stage 1 Results and General Classification after stage 1

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Way2live  Quantum  Racing1:36:12 
2Milton Ramos (Spa) Intense-­?TowCar0:00:42 
3Greg Saw (Aus) iHus-­?Spiuk  Norge0:01:22 
4Ramses Bekkenk (Ned) Koga  KMC0:01:40 
5Yuki Ikeda (Jpn) Topeak/Ergon/Canyon0:02:12 
6Ondrej Slezak (Aus) Way2live  Quantum  Racing0:02:23 
7Cory Wallace (Can) Kona Factory Team0:05:19 
8Márton Blazsó (Hun) HUN Kross  Hungary0:05:41 
9Jiri Krivanek (Cze) Prestige  hotel0:06:14 
10Max Lelli (Ita) Italian  Cistyc  Fibrosis  Foundation-­?FFC0:09:33 
11Alexander Geelhaar (Ger) Redheads  Team  /  RC  Schnaittachtal0:10:17 
12Guido Thaler (Aut) Craft/Rocky Mountain0:10:52 
13Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru-­?MarathonMTB.com0:11:29 
14Matteo Marzotto (Ita) Italian  Cistyc  Fibrosis  Foundation-­?FFC0:16:14 
15Bjorn Rondelez (Bel) desperate  husbands0:16:20 
16Davide Cassani (Ita) Italian  Cistyc  Fibrosis  Foundation-­?FFC0:16:20 
17Iader Fabbri (Ita) Italian  Cistyc  Fibrosis  Foundation-­?FFC0:16:20 
18Leander Hamelink (Ned)0:18:56 
19Thomas Begert (Ger) Redheads  Team  /  RC  Schnaittachtal0:28:29 
20David Rosa (Por) Liberty  Seguros/Movefree0:53:25 
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Imogen Smith (Aus) Subaru-­?MarathonMTB.com2:05:07 
2Jasmin McMillan (Aus)0:07:23 
Amateur women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sandra Starke (Aus)2:12:36 
2Tania Tryhorn (Aus)0:02:23 
3Tinneke Van  de  Voorde (Bel)0:05:46 
4Rita Esteves (Por)0:06:18 
-1lapSharman Parr (Aus)  
Amateur men 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andrew Lloyd (Aus) Way2live  Quantum  Racing1:43:52 
2Jindra Knot (Cze) Way2live  Quantum  Racing0:00:36 
3Benoit Smeuninx (Bel)0:25:58 
4Marek Tichy (Cze)0:37:06 
Amateur men 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kafka (Cze) Way2live  Quantum  Racing1:43:09 
2Andrew Hall (Aus) Vie  13  kustom  apparel0:02:01 
3Jürgen Hofer (Aut) Jürgen  Hofer0:04:18 
4Grant Webster (Aus) Il  Pastaio  /  Rocky  Trail  Racing0:05:12 
5Michel Pannekeet (Ned) MTB  Team  Giant/Theo  Schilder  Alkmaar0:06:47 
6Lander Vanhee (Bel) desperate  husbands0:06:48 
7Martin Wisata (Aut) Il  Pastaio  /  Rocky  Trail  Racing0:08:21 
8Adrian Scott (GBr) Pecker  legs0:10:24 
9Marthijs Wegdam (Ned) Scholten  Cycling0:13:36 
10Timothy Nelson (GBr) Il  Pastaio  /  Rocky  Trail  Racing0:16:05 
11Silva Tiago (Por)0:16:07 
12Dan McNamara (Aus) Vie  13  kustom  apparel0:21:33 
13Heikki Segaert (Bel)0:21:52 
14Garrett Sherman (Can) Il  Pastaio  /  Rocky  Trail  Racing0:25:32 
15Diedrik De  Mulder (Bel)0:25:58 
16Patric Wiedmer (Swi)0:29:38 
17Jason Derecourt (NZl)0:33:51 
-2lapsSteven Rankine (Aus) GoPro  
-2lapsJeff Kerkove (USA) GoPro  
Amateur men 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jason Chalker (Aus) Vie  13  kustom  apparel1:43:25 
2Lieven Machtelinckx (Bel)0:09:06 
3Ignace Spruyt (Bel)0:09:28 
4Timothy Goulding (Aus)0:10:50 
5Pascal De  Meulenaer (Bel) Born2Bike0:11:23 
6Robert Kleiner (Cze) Way2live  Quantum  Racing0:11:44 
7Marchel Van  der  Heyden (Ned) Harsco  metals0:12:37 
8Jaysen Searle (Aus) Team  Redarc0:15:01 
9Ronny Raeymakers (Bel) Desert  Duvel\'s0:16:13 
10Tom Smets (Bel) O2Bikers0:17:35 
11Pierre Castagne (Bel)0:17:46 
12Gavin Rumbles (GBr) CC  Luton0:17:55 
13Marco Mosti (Ita) Jolly  Bike0:18:27 
14Alex Kooijman (Ned) Way2live  Quantum  Racing0:18:47 
15Clayton Locke (Aus) Il  Pastaio  /  Rocky  Trail  Racing0:19:23 
16Filip Bloch (Cze) Way2live  Quantum  Racing0:19:54 
17Michael Klemens (Aus)0:20:43 
18David De  Chellis (Aus) Get  up.0:20:44 
19Dominique Van  der  Bruggen BEL (Bel) Alu-­?team0:21:35 
20Geert Biesmans (Bel)0:22:40 
21Vincent Gouverneur (Bel)0:23:23 
22Warren Pike (Aus) CycleFNQ/Crank\'D0:24:07 
23Jason Smith (Aus)0:24:10 
24Markus Alschner (Aut) Bike  Experience  Vienna0:24:36 
25Olaf Trenner (Ger) Trenner  der  Renner0:26:14 
26Bronislav Skovajsa (Cze) Six  Monkeys0:27:49 
27Hans-­?Peter Schärer (Swi)0:29:41 
28Willem Hopstaken (Ned) Scholten  Cycling0:35:24 
29Vincent Maillen (Bel)0:35:40 
30Luc Devooght (Bel) desperate  husbands0:37:35 
31Jesper Ravn (NZl) JJ  Peleton0:37:35 
Amateur men 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Garry James (Aus) Garry  James1:51:16 
2Scott McLennan (Aus) Tenni's  Rattle  n  Hum0:06:48 
3John Cosgriff (Aus) Team  Redarc0:07:39 
4Andrew Radcliffe (Aus) the  greatcyclechallenge  &  Ride  Ettalong0:11:02 
5Freddy Cassiers (Bel)0:11:04 
6Georg Vinczencz (Aut) Radsport  Waldherr0:18:10 
7Erik Van  Meel (Bel)0:18:46 
8Otta Matousek (Cze) ITchampions0:20:48 
9Greg Parr (Aus)0:22:46 
10Jim Knudsen (Den) JJ  Peleton0:29:41 
11Radim Novotny (Cze) Prestige  hotel0:31:10 
-1lapPaul van  Hattem (Ned) Scholten  Cycling  
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