Croc Trophy: Huber claims fourth title, Pirard is the women's champion

Mountain bike stage race concludes in Port Douglas

After eight hard days of racing the Crocodile Trophy racers crossed the finish line on Four Mile Beach today! Urs Huber is the fastest man on the time trial course and the overall Elite Men's winner 2016. With a gap of 1:48min ahead of the Belgian Sebastien Carabin he claims his fourth race title after 2009, 2010 and 2015. With Annemiek van Vleuten winning today's stage, Alice Pirard successfully defends her overall lead on the short but challenging track from Wetherby into Port Douglas and is the Women's Elite winner this year.

The 22nd Crocodile Trophy finished after eight days of racing through its home in Tropical North Queensland in Port Douglas today. The legendary event started last Saturday in Cairns with a lap race at the Smithfield MTB Park and continued onto the Atherton Tablelands on Sunday. It was the climb onto the Atherton Tablelands and the tough undulating course of the second stage was the hardest, the riders all agreed. Three stages were raced in the Atherton MTB Park and also in the Herberton State Forest and surrounds, very technical and demanding on the riders.

From the rainforests in Cairns into the bushlands of the Tablelands and via the so iconic Outback to Skybury Coffee Plantation was next on the stage plan. The racers enjoyed two nights in the tropical Skybury estate and raced through the Mareeba Wetlands on Thursday.

Yesterday the race stopped over at Wetherby Station after a marathon stage via open Outback Highways - a fast race in glistening heat. Today the riders were in for a treat - a 30km timetrial down the infamous "Bump Track" from Wetherby Station into the holiday paradise of Port Douglas with the final finish on the beautiful Four Mile Beach.

Urs Huber wins his fourth Crocodile Trophy title

The Swiss Marathon National Champion today claimed his fourth Crocodile Trophy victory after winning before in 2009, 2010 and last year. Only one man before him has won this legendary race four times, Jaap Viergever from The Netherlands (1997, 1999, 2001 & 2002).

He said the race was a tough mind game for him this week clocking in a total of 23h52:51.6.

"The week was really tough, not physically but mentally because the gap [to Sebastien Carabin] was always really small and I had to stay concentrated for the whole week. I couldn't make any mistakes - I could manage that really well and so, the win is here.

He complimented his biggest opponent Sebastien Carabin as being equally as strong. "We both were very strong. He just had one bad day and I didn't. And in the end, that was the difference."

The "bad day" was stage two from Cairns to Atherton, which pushed most of the riders to their absolute limits. A long stage in very hot and particularly humid conditions, so hard that even a world-class rider like Sebastien Carabin suffered and ultimately cost him too much time.

Overall, only 1:48 minutes separated the top two finishers of the 2016 event with Huber taking today's stage in 52:59.3 with a gap of five seconds to second-placed Carabin.

With an incredible performance in today's time trial the Belgian Michiel van Aelbroeck defended his third position overall and has a gap of 1h05 to Huber. The 40-year old Dutch racer Bas Peters took out fourth (+1h11:05.4) and the Austrian Matthias Pliem came in fifth (+1h16:29.0).

Alice Pirard wins the Women's Trophy

The Belgian Marathon National Champion finishes her 2016 season with a win at the Crocodile Trophy, her second appearance at the legendary stage race. With strong performances all week she dominated the technical stages and the dark horse, but well-known rider, in the field Annemiek van Vleuten was a strong opponent. The Dutch Olympic road racer had claimed to "race the Crocodile Trophy as a holiday", but half-way through the week caught the racing bug on the flat and less-technical stages.

Twice riddled with bad luck by missing turns and loosing a lot of time, Annemiek van Vleuten still claimed three stage wins and was the fastest woman in today's time trial with 1h03:45.6.

Overall the women's result has Alice Pirard finishing with 30h34:45.0 ahead of van Vleuten (+44:15) and the Australian road racer Ruth Corset (+1h06:27).

The marathon specialist Sarah Kaehler from Cairns came in fourth (+5h39:57).

Results

Elite Men Stage 8
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Team Bulls)0:52:59 
2Sebastien Carabin (Merida Wallonie-Vojo Mag)0:00:05 
3Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Wmtb.Be)0:02:13 
4Matthias Grick (Ktm Ebner Transporte Cycling Team Graz)0:03:02 
5Manuel Pliem (Team Ktm-Rad.Sport.Szene)0:03:06 
6Bas Peters (Mijnbadliv/Giant Offroad Team)0:03:15 
7Stef De Louwere (Veco Cycling Team)0:06:16 
8Frédéric Ischard (Team Velochannel.Com)0:07:46 
Elite Women Stage 8
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-Ais / Scott)1:03:45 
2Ruth Corset0:01:45 
3Alice Pirard (Merida-Wallonie Mtb Team)0:06:12 
4Sarah Kaehler (Astute Financial Racing Team)0:13:53 
Elite Men Final General Classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Team Bulls)23:52:51 
2Sebastien Carabin (Merida Wallonie-Vojo Mag)0:01:48 
3Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Wmtb.Be)1:05:52 
4Bas Peters (Mijnbadliv/Giant Offroad Team)1:11:05 
5Manuel Pliem (Team Ktm-Rad.Sport.Szene)1:16:29 
6Matthias Grick (Ktm Ebner Transporte Cycling Team Graz)2:00:18 
7Stef De Louwere (Veco Cycling Team)2:55:18 
8Frédéric Ischard (Team Velochannel.Com)4:54:12 
Elite Women Final General Classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alice Pirard (Merida-Wallonie Mtb Team)30:34:00 
2Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-Ais / Scott)0:45:00 
3Ruth Corset1:07:00 
4Sarah Kaehler (Astute Financial Racing Team)5:40:00 
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