Brentjens wins stage 3

Kangaroo encounter disrupts Haselbacher's race

Stage three, which was probably the hardest stage of this year's Crocodile Trophy, offered Belgian racer Mike Mulkens the chance to ride onto the podium. Mulkens finished third last year overall, but it wasn't until today's stage that he achieved his first podium finish of this year's race. Bart Brentjens won the day's stage from Granite Gorge to Irvinebank ahead of Urs Huber and Mulkens.

Behind the leading trio, this 144km queen stage of the Crocodile Trophy brought bad luck and collisions with kangaroos.

Racers were spared some trouble by a cooperating sun, which hid all day behind thick cloud cover. In a country where the most corrugated and rutted gravel road is called a "sealed road", the riders found out early in the race what this track description really means: steep ascents, rutted descents, slippery gravel, rough rocks.

On sandy trails and passing humongous termite mounds, the racers saw firsthand the real Aussie Outback, and whilst the rider briefing had promised gravel and asphalt roads to recover half-way through, the accompanying tablelands proved to be a mean attacking area for the stormy headwind.

It was no surprise that the top two race favorites Urs Huber and Bart Brentjens were able to cope well with these conditions after their performances during the first two stages.

Dutchman Brentjens even managed to catch back up with the lead group after a flat tire and then win the stage in a time of 5:18.34. Brentjens finished one second ahead of overall leader Huber.

What did surprise many, including Brentjens himself, was Mulkens was able to keep up with the two top riders over long stretches of the stage and that he came across the finish line with an equally impressive lead of more than half an hour over his pursuers.

"I am more than happy with today's result. The first two days were not bad, but still, in a way everyone expected a third place from me," said the 30-year-old Mulkens. "Now I have it - and I'll defend it with all my might."

It worked in Mulkens' favour that Canadian Cory Wallace, who had been third before today's stage, was thwarted by two tire punctures.

Without any mechanical failures and troubles, Abby McLennan arrived at the historic gold mining town of Irvinebank and thus secured her third stage win in the women's category.

"Every single metre was hard today, even the flat sections, because the head wind almost blew me off my bike. I'm very relieved to finally be here," said the Australian McLennan.

Kangaroo encounter

Imagine that you are riding your bike... and then you're tackled by a kangaroo. No kidding - this happened to the Austrian rider Rene Haselbacher. Riding in a bunch with the fastest Australian Taigh Banson and the Estonians Jaan Kirsipuu and Allan Oras, the elite road racer was hit by a fleeing marsupial that almost brought him to a nasty fall.

"It was just unbelievable!" said Haselbacher. "It just jumped straight through our group and suddenly both I and the kangaroo were spectacularly spun through the air," said a still stunned Haselbacher.

Eye witness Jaan Kirsipuu in turn was struggling after the unexpected encounter with the kangaroo. "I had trouble staying on my bike, because I had to laugh so much," said the 11-time Estonian national champion.

Other Crocodile Trophy racers, however, didn't have as much fun out there today. Most sections of the track were riddled with sharp rocks, which were responsible for countless mechanicals.

Two Austrians, Christopher Sokoll and Christoph Ludescher, were particularly unlucky. Dropping far back because of three flat tires each, at the fourth tire failure, it was hard to know what to do.

"One of the Australian riders recommended that we use an Aussie dollar bill to fix the side walls," said Ludescher of one of the tricks they pair employed. However, the fixed tire didn't withstand the strains of the rough terrain. Luckily, Lauretta Howarth, overall female second, donated them a spare tube and saved the pair from the sweeper bus.

"It's weird, after places eight and four, I was expecting second today," said Ludescher, counting on the probability of recurring events and having a sense of humour about the mishaps of the day. Meanwhile Sokoll hopes that all the bad luck has been used up for the remainder of the race.

Stage 3 Results

Men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek Brentjens5:18:34 
2Urs Huber (Swi)0:00:01 
3Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:04:02 
4Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:26:30 
5Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain0:26:31 
6Cory Wallace (Can)0:36:40 
7Réne Haselbacher (Aut) McSabutage0:36:41 
8Matthijs Pot (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre0:40:03 
9Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen0:49:45 
10Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike1:01:15 
11Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain1:12:52 
12Paul Ensink (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre1:17:19 
13James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail1:27:45 
14Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team1:58:02 
15Vinne Los (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre2:02:42 
16Philipp Ludescher (Aut) McSabutage2:07:37 
17Christoph Sokoll (Aut)2:07:38 
18Hamish Taylor (Aus) Fraser and Mountain4:08:04 
Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum7:13:44 
2Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear1:09:19 
3Nancy Caceres (Aus)1:25:37 
4Lesley Sutton (Aus)2:15:28 
5Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear2:20:29 
6Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear  
M1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christof Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium15:49:27 
2Raf De Bakker (Bel)0:08:17 
3Roli Zehnder (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers0:23:10 
4Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik0:38:27 
5Peter Clayton (Aus)0:41:00 
6Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution0:45:37 
7Rolf Stebler (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers0:57:19 
8Patric Wiedmer (Swi) Boomerang Reisen0:57:20 
9Mark van Harmelen (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles1:07:56 
10Sven Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium11:11:20 
11Michel Haenggi (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers1:16:55 
12Brendon Skerke (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:24:19 
13Bert Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles1:25:48 
14Martin Wisata (Aut) Rocky Trail Entertainment1:27:04 
15Rutger van Herpen (Ned)1:27:05 
16Cas Brentjens (Ned) Cannasia - Cannondale1:31:49 
17Struan Lamont (Aus) Struan Lamont1:57:30 
18Sjoerd Tilstra (Ned)2:02:34 
M2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Rietumu-Delfin5:45:05 
2Indrek Kelk (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:12:57 
3Hans Mertens (Bel) Crocteam Belgium20:37:45 
4Kurt Alderweireldt (Bel)0:54:08 
5Lieven Van Poeck (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team1:01:43 
6Guido Vangertruyden (Bel)1:09:56 
7Johan Wekeman (Ned) BikeLife Roden1:11:43 
8Julius Vincze (Aut)1:12:40 
9Luuk Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles1:22:35 
10Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:28:42 
11Rob Wijnbergen (Ned)1:44:29 
12Marc Withofs (Bel) Crocteam Belgium21:49:20 
13Darren Withers (Aus)2:01:02 
14Michael Foreman (Aus) MIG2:07:06 
M3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hans Dielacher (Aus)6:01:22 
2Roger Cull (Aus) Team Yeti-GU0:10:43 
3Hans Post (Ned) Dutch Chicken0:34:30 
4Leon van den Schoor (Ned)0:55:34 
5Joachim Oberföll (Ger)1:05:01 
6Weit Heuker (Ned) BikeLife Roden1:15:22 
7Greg Parr (NZl) MIG1:22:16 
8Harry Beutetrading (Ned) BikeLife Roden1:32:27 
9Sjaak Etten (Ned) Dutch Chicken1:58:55 
10Rudi Stroobants (Bel) Crocteam Belgium12:11:04 
11Ivan Whittle (Aus) MIG2:21:40 
12Hein Lansbergen (Ned) Dutch Chicken3:16:44 
E-bike
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Klaus Sever (Aut)9:12:42 
2Udo Huber (Aut)0:51:31 
Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek Brentjens20 pts
2Urs Huber (Swi)15 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)10 
5Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin5 
 Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain  

General classification after stage 3

Men general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi)10:17:46 
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek Brentjens0:04:23 
3Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:33:08 
4Cory Wallace (Can)0:53:34 
5Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:58:41 
6Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain1:21:18 
7Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen1:36:19 
8Matthijs Pot (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre1:43:49 
9Réne Haselbacher (Aut) McSabutage1:59:16 
10Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike2:02:38 
11Paul Ensink (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre2:36:00 
12Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain2:41:33 
13Philipp Ludescher (Aut) McSabutage2:45:52 
14James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail2:50:40 
15Christoph Sokoll (Aut)2:51:12 
16Vinne Los (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre3:44:48 
17Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team5:03:42 
18Hamish Taylor (Aus) Fraser and Mountain8:32:50 
Women general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum14:04:41 
2Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear2:36:47 
3Nancy Caceres (Aus)3:19:22 
4Lesley Sutton (Aus)4:06:37 
5Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear4:31:11 
6Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear4:46:39 
M1 general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Raf De Bakker (Bel)11:47:31 
2Christof Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium10:06:57 
3Roli Zehnder (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers0:31:37 
4Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik0:50:49 
5Peter Clayton (Aus)1:00:00 
6Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution1:10:08 
7Patric Wiedmer (Swi) Boomerang Reisen1:21:54 
8Mark van Harmelen (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles2:05:17 
9Rolf Stebler (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers2:06:27 
10Michel Haenggi (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers2:16:32 
11Sven Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium12:20:15 
12Brendon Skerke (Aus) Rattle N Hum2:26:59 
13Martin Wisata (Aut) Rocky Trail Entertainment2:32:52 
14Bert Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles2:33:46 
15Rutger van Herpen (Ned)2:40:43 
16Sjoerd Tilstra (Ned)2:57:17 
17Cas Brentjens (Ned) Cannasia - Cannondale3:13:10 
18Struan Lamont (Aus) Struan Lamont3:30:41 
M2 general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Rietumu-Delfin11:22:58 
2Indrek Kelk (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:12:58 
3Hans Mertens (Bel) Crocteam Belgium21:24:53 
4Johan Wekeman (Ned) BikeLife Roden1:49:49 
5Kurt Alderweireldt (Bel)1:50:38 
6Lieven Van Poeck (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team2:05:07 
7Julius Vincze (Aut)2:31:52 
8Guido Vangertruyden (Bel)2:35:19 
9Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum2:41:46 
10Luuk Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles2:45:48 
11Darren Withers (Aus)3:17:56 
12Marc Withofs (Bel) Crocteam Belgium23:29:34 
13Rob Wijnbergen (Ned)3:32:12 
14Michael Foreman (Aus) MIG6:07:23 
M3 general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Hans Dielacher (Aus)11:48:35 
2Roger Cull (Aus) Team Yeti-GU0:14:25 
3Hans Post (Ned) Dutch Chicken1:12:56 
4Leon van den Schoor (Ned)1:58:34 
5Joachim Oberföll (Ger)2:31:36 
6Weit Heuker (Ned) BikeLife Roden2:43:11 
7Greg Parr (NZl) MIG3:03:46 
8Harry Beutetrading (Ned) BikeLife Roden3:12:04 
9Sjaak Etten (Ned) Dutch Chicken3:48:19 
10Rudi Stroobants (Bel) Crocteam Belgium13:58:05 
11Ivan Whittle (Aus) MIG4:43:02 
12Hein Lansbergen (Ned) Dutch Chicken5:13:45 
E-Bike general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Klaus Sever (Aut)19:38:50 
2Udo Huber (Aut)0:51:31 
Points classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek Brentjens55 pts
2Urs Huber (Swi)50 
3Cory Wallace (Can)20 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)15 
5Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin12 
6Philipp Ludescher (Aut) McSabutage2 
7Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain2 
Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rietumu-Delfin34:15:21 
2Bike One Team Lapierre4:42:34 
3Swiss Bike Brothers6:01:48 
4Crocteam Belgium17:33:33 
5Belga Fietsen Crocodiles8:07:30 
6Rattle N Hum8:08:34 
7BikeLife Roden8:29:51 
8Fraser and Mountain9:13:38 
9Dutch Chicken11:25:24 
10MIG14:38:58 
11SheSpoke Cycle Wear20:13:19 
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