Huber, White seize overall Crocodile Trophy leads

Four days remain in Australian MTB stage race

Urs Huber and Sarah White took over the elite leads with stage victories in the stage 4 time trial. The multiple Swiss National Champion and four-time Crocodile Trophy winner Huber claimed stage 4 in 1:23:49 and takes over the overall lead by 1:11 in the men’s. Sarah White, who won before in 2015, takes over the women’s lead after a strong 2-hour race. Lucy Coldwell is now in second with a gap of 1:53.

For the 16th time in the 24-year history of the event, this small mining town with a population of 85 residents is hosting a Crocodile Trophy stage.

"We feel very welcome here and all the residents have been so supportive," said Race Founder Gerhard Schönbacher.

Of Huber fellow riders said, that he had been a "man on a mission" and "hungry for the win" on the 38 km time trial course from Herberton to Irvinebank. With an elevation change of only 525 meters, it was a fast and determined race by Huber and it all went to plan for the 33-year-old. He added that a few long and flat stages were coming up and that those should suit his style of racing. An endurance specialist and with years of Outback racing experience, he was confident for the next few days he concluded.

Swiss elite racer Konny Looser says he was happy about two stage wins this year but also very realistic. He had taken notice of the extremely strong form by Huber and that he wasn’t surprised by Huber’s win in the time trial.

"I saw yesterday that Urs is very strong and two minutes is not a big gap. There are still four days to go and a lot of long and flat stages coming up where a lot of things can happen like technical problems and then two minutes is nothing," he said.

He added that Urs was very strong on the flat stages and that he expected him to “put the hammer down”. The stage 4 route suited Huber well and Looser concluded that he was happy with second place and ready to “carry on” and that he would “try to keep the fire burning until the end."

In fourth was the Austrian Philipp Wetzelberger in 1:34:32 ahead of the Czech rider Milan Damek, who finished five minutes behind him. The 26-year-old said that he enjoyed “the beautiful and exotic land, landscapes and nature” in Australia. He had participated in many marathostage races overseas and experienced extreme weather and racing conditions and this event was the ultimate highlight of his racing season.

Sarah White overtakes Lucy Coldwell

A shake-up also in the women's: Lucy Coldwell suffered a mechanical issue and lost a lot of time repairing a flat tyre. Sarah White had a strong day and pushed herself into the overall women's lead by 1:53 ahead of tomorrow's fifth stage, a classic and relatively flat marathon to Skybury Coffee Plantation. The question will be if the the strong marathon endurance racer White will defend her lead against road specialist Coldwell across the 1200m of elevation.

At the halfway mark, Croc rests in Irvinebank

With four days to go Wednesday's stage will be a ‘old-school’ marathono to Skybury Coffee Plantation, said eight-time Crocodile Trophy finisher Martin Wisata from the NSW Central Coast near Sydney. The 41-year-old said that it had been a furious start to the race.

“This year the first stage caught a lot of riders out, we didn’t expect it to be that humid and hot from the start, however, it seems to be that now that we’re half-way everyone has found a good rhythm.”

He said that stage racing and the Crocodile Trophy in particular demanded not only everything of the racers out on track, but that the recovery time after each stage and the preparation for the following day were critical.

“This is a very challenging race, you cannot come here unprepared. And, you really have to look after yourself and your equipment and after all these years of racing I know how to react when things don’t go to plan, you learn to adapt and be flexible and listen to body… and bike," he explained.

He said that he had known about the Crocodile Trophy since watching footage every year on TV from when he was growing up in Austria since the mid-nineties and that the camp life was an aspect that he immensely enjoyed.

“I noticed that a lot of riders are using the hotel packages offered, however, we still all get together for the communal breakfasts and dinners and that’s a lot of fun, chatting about the day’s racing and just coming together as a group of people who love riding. Being able to do this out here in so beautiful parts of Tropical North Queensland is unique and very special.”

Results

Elite Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi)1:23:49 
2Konny Looser (Swi)0:01:12 
3Sören Nissen (Lux)0:06:15 
4Philipp Wetzelberger (Aut)0:10:43 
5Milan Damek (Cze)0:15:54 
6Matthias Grick (Aut)0:16:16 
7Leander Hamelink (Ned)0:25:05 
8Tom Vandenbussche (Bel)0:29:14 
Elite Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah White (Aus)2:02:25 
2Lucy Coldwell (Aus)0:28:59 
3Sjoukje Dufoer (Bel)0:39:35 

General Classification after stage 4

Elite Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi)14:18:26 
2Konny Looser (Swi)0:01:11 
3Sören Nissen (Lux)  
4Matthias Grick (Aut)  
5Philipp Wetzelberger (Aut)0:04:16 
6Milan Damek (Cze)0:38:55 
7Leander Hamelink (Ned)1:44:52 
8Tom Vandenbussche (Bel)4:02:56 
Elite Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah White (Aus)19:46:26 
2Lucy Coldwell (Aus)0:01:54 
3Sjoukje Dufoer (Bel)1:15:19 

 

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