Tropical challenge awaits competitors at the 24th Crocodile Trophy MTB stage race
The 24th edition of the famed Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race starts on Saturday, October 13, with this year's eight-day event taking the riders over 700 kilometres from Cairns to Port Douglas in Australia's Far North Queensland.
The start and finish points of the race may only be 50 kilometres apart as the crow flies, but the eight stages will see the riders take in 15,000 metres of climbing through unforgiving tropical rainforests and over rugged outback mining tracks.
Stage 2 is the race's 'queen stage', when riders face 118km between Lake Tinaroo and Herbert, with 3,450 metres of climbing on this one day alone.
This year the race welcomes riders from 16 countries, with the elite women's category including 2015 winner and Cairns local Sarah White and former road cyclist Lucy Colwell, who represented Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, where she finished eighth in the individual time trial.
The elite men's race features four-time Crocodile Trophy winner Urs Hubler of Switzerland, who comes to the 2018 race trying to become the first rider to win the event five times. He'll be challenged by Luxembourg's Soren Nissen, who finished second to Huber in 2015, and has come to Australia to stand on the top step of the podium in Port Douglas.
Lotto Soudal pro rider and former mountain biker Adam Hansen has won the event twice – in 2004 and 2005 – but the race also attracts a number of amateur riders, keen to test themselves over the same route as the elite riders.