Ivan Rybarik won today's stage 8 and Greg Saw again defended his overall lead in the International Crocodile Trophy on the 101km race from Skybury Coffee Plantation to the historic Wetherby Cattle Station.
Today the second-last Crocodile Trophy stage faced a bush fire thread and the organisers sent a team of quad riders onto the race track early in the morning to evaluate a bush fire threat in Kuranda Stage Forest. The race start had been re-scheduled and until the go-ahead at 9am the Crocodile Trophy riders mingled in the Skybury Cafe, enjoying the view towards the coast and Black Mountain. From 10am the race then took them past contained batches of fire, which was a very unusual experience especially for the overseas riders.
Including today's race, which she finished in just over four hours, Sydney-rider Imogen Smith has spent almost 35 hours in the saddle of her mountain bike since stage one of the Crocodile Trophy at Smithfield MTB Park a week ago. Tomorrow she will be the winning Elite Woman at the 20th Crocodile Trophy and is looking forward to crossing the line on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.
"I had this race on my bucket list for quite a while and even though today's was probably the hardest race I've ever done, I wouldn't miss a minute of it all," Imogen said at the finish today, her face lined with dust and dirt and the stresses and strains of the last eight days. In the women's general classification she is currently leading by 4h41:47 ahead of Amateur Woman Rita Esteves from Portugal, who has a solid 40-minute lead in her category ahead of tomorrow's last stage.
Second consecutive win by Australian imminent at the Crocodile Trophy
The Crocodile Trophy winner from 2012 Ivan Rybarik (CZE) claimed his third stage win at the Crocodile Trophy. The runner-up from 2013, Cory Wallace, tried everything to get away from the current leader, Australian-born Greg Saw, to decrease the gap in the general classification, but admits defeat today at the finish.
"It just didn't happen this year ... Greg Saw is a good rider and he raced consistently, good on him," said the disappointed Canadian. Saw doesn't dare to dream yet but admitted that he was quietly optimistic about tomorrow's last stage, which will be run in a time trial format. He will be the last starter to descend onto the infamous Bump Track, chasing the field of almost 100 riders, who start from 10am in one minute intervals.
"I'm not counting on a win yet - I will race very carefully tomorrow and am prepared to loose a bit of time, I don't want to risk anything," said Saw ahead of tomorrow's imminent second stage win of an Australian.
He now lives with his young family in Norway and is racing under his adopted country's flag, and concluded that he just "wanted to get the job done."
Like last year's Crocodile Trophy, Mark Frendo from Brisbane, Saw came into the race as the dark horse among high-profile international endurance and marathon racers and had raced aggressively from day one. A nasty incident with a native Stinging Tree left him with nerve damage on arms and legs but he persevered and kept racing determined and conservatively, defending his jersey every day since he took over the lead on day two.
Still cautious he concluded today that "not everything was in the can yet" ahead of tomorrow's time trial from Wetherby Station down the infamous "Bump Track", one of Queensland's iconic prospector and historic mining access roads and descending into Port Douglas, where the finish line will be located on Four Mile Beach.
Elite men stage 8
|1||Ivan Rybarik (Cze) Way2Live Quantum Racing||3:11:04|| |
|2||Cory Wallace (Can) Kona||0:00:11|| |
|3||Milton Ramos (Esp) Intense-TowCar||0:00:45|| |
|4||Marton Blazo (Hun) Kross Hungary||0:00:46|| |
|5||Ramses Bekkenk (Ned) Koga KMC||0:02:19|| |
Elite women stage 8
|1||Imogen Smith (Aus) Subaru-MarathonMTB.com||4:08:05|| |
Amateur men 1 stage 8
|1||Jindra Knot (Cze)||3:31:47|| |
|2||Andrew Lloyd (Aus)||0:01:38|| |
|3||Benoit Smeuninx (Bel)||0:25:18|| |
|4||Marek Tichy (Cze)||1:41:37|| |
Amateur men 2 stage 8
|1||Andrew Hall (Aus) Vie 13 Kustum Apparel||3:19:08|| |
|2||Silva Tiago (Por)||0:00:01|| |
|3||Adrian Scott (GBr) Pecker Legs||0:12:37|| |
|4||Michal Kafka (Cze) Way2Live QuantumRacing||0:14:16|| |
|5||Jurgen Hofer (Aut) Jurgen Hofer||0:14:18|| |
Amateur men 3 stage 8
|1||Max Lelli (Ita)||3:19:10|| |
|2||Jaysen Searle (Aus) Team Redarc||0:14:15|| |
|3||Lieven Machtelinckx||0:15:10|| |
|4||Pierre Castagne (Bel)||0:24:25|| |
|5||Robert Kleiner (Cze)||0:25:59|| |
Amateur men 4 stage 8
|1||Davide Cassani (Ita)||3:39:29|| |
|2||Garry James (Garry James)||0:04:05|| |
|3||Jim Knudsen (JJ Peleton)||0:09:31|| |
|4||Paul van Hattem (Ned) Scholten Cycling||0:13:54|| |
|5||John Cosgriff (Aus) Team Redarc||0:18:45|| |
Amateur women stage 8
|1||Sandra Starkey (Aus)||4:25:45|| |
|2||Rita Esteves (Por)||0:12:10|| |
|3||Sharman Parr (Aus)||1:18:12|| |
Elite men general classification after stage 8
|1||Greg Saw (Nor) iHus-Spiuk Norge||25:54:46|| |
|2||Cory Wallace (Can) KONA Factory Team||0:06:47|| |
|3||Milton Ramos (Spa) Intense-TowCar||0:23:46|| |
|4||Ramses Bekkenk (Ned) Koga KMC||0:34:08|| |
|5||Marton Blazo (Hun) Kross Hungary||0:51:29|| |
Elite women general classification after stage 8
|1||Imogen Smith (Aus) Subaru-MarathonMTB.com||34:57:02|| |
Amateur men 1 general classification after stage 8
|1||Jindra Knot (Cze)||29:39:05|| |
|2||Andrew Lloyd (Aus)||0:31:32|| |
|3||Benoit Smeuninx (Bel)||5:04:13|| |
|4||Marek Tichy (Cze)||10:57:45|| |
Amateur men 2 general classification after stage 8
|1||Andrew Hall (Vie 13 kustom apparel)||27:53:12|| |
|2||Silva Tiago||0:10:34|| |
|3||Lander Vanhee (desperate husbands)||1:35:41|| |
|4||Dan McNarmara (Aus)||2:22:50|| |
|5||Jürgen Hofer (Jürgen Hofer)||2:34:26|| |
Amateur men 3 general classification after stage 8
|1||Max Lelli (Italian Cistyc Fibrosis Founda)||29:14:15|| |
|2||Jason Chalker (Vie 13 kustom apparel)||0:24:26|| |
|3||Timothy Goulding||1:41:58|| |
|4||Jaysen Searle (Aus) Team Redarc||1:49:06|| |
|5||Lieven Machtelinckx||1:55:40|| |
Amateur men 4 general classification after stage 8
|1||Garry James (Garry James)||30:57:49|| |
|2||John Cosgriff (Team Redarc)||2:09:24|| |
|3||Davide Cassani (Italian Cistyc Fibrosis Founda)||2:41:39|| |
|4||Jim Knudsen (JJ Peleton)||3:34:51|| |
|5||Georg Vinczencz||4:54:32|| |
Amateur women general classification after stage 8
|1||Rita Esteves (Por)||39:38:49|| |
|2||Sandra Starkey||0:40:49|| |
|3||Sharman Parr (Aus)||8:43:39|| |