Huber wins Croc Trophy opener ahead of Brentjens

Zeldenrust heads women's field

Swiss mountain biker Urs Huber produced a magnificent marathon performance to win the most challenging mountain stage ever served up to competitors in Australia's Crocodile Trophy.

Huber, who was rated by former World and Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens as one of the main contenders for the overall prize, managed to live up to expectation by attacking Brentjens repeatedly on the final mountain climb of the Crocodile Trophy's opening 98-kilometre stage from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo.

In the process, the Swiss World Marathon Championship bronze medallist asserted himself as a genuine threat for the general classification, establishing a lead over Brentjens of just over two minutes on a stage that featured more than 2,400 metres of climbing.

"I know this stage today is a stage like in Switzerland with very big hills and I know it's my day, it's great to win the first stage here," Huber said when he reached the finish line at Lake Tinaroo.

"I saw on the first climb that I'm very strong, but after that there came 30 kilometre flats and it was not good to be alone, so I wait for Bart and we worked together."

On the final 1,200 metre climb of Mout Edith, the highest dirt road in Queensland, Huber launched a series of spirited attacks. Brentjens responded, once, then twice, but on the third occasion, The Great Dutchman's age won out over his eternally youthful spirit.

"Yeah he attacked actually already in the beginning but then I came back easily," Brentjens said. "There was the big climb coming at the end, he knows it, I know it as well and he attacked actually at the bottom."

Struggling for breath, there was little time for the former World and Olympic Champion to enjoy the view, on a stage that he will long remember, especially for the scenery.

"It was actually really beautiful, what we did today was a really nice ride," Brentjens said. "The scenery was incredibly nice but it was hard as well and it was hot in some parts."

Stage one of the Crocodile Trophy proved to be a nightmare day for the visiting Slovenians, Jure Robic and Matej Mugerli, who were both expected to contend for the overall podium. Robic, a four-time solo winner of the Race Across America lost valuable minutes after taking a wrong-turn at a well signposted intersection.

Mugerli fared far worse. The former ProTour stage winner crashed heavily at the front of the lead group on the first major descent of the day. He was transported to hospital after sustaining a potentially serious concussion, exiting his first Crocodile Trophy campaign after barely one hour on the trail.

The surprise to emerge from stage one was the performance of the local Tropical Tableland Discovery team. The line-up, composed of North Queensland cyclists Isaac Tonello, Steve Rankine and Josh Prete, managed to place two riders in the top ten, in what shapes as a promising performance.

Tonello, who finished eighth after producing a strong burst as the race headed towards his hometown of Mareeba, admitted to feeling totally spent after cramping over the final 50 kilometres.

"I didn't feel to strong towards the end, I was really struggling up mount Edith, that was probably one of the hardest climbs I've done," Tonello said.

Zeldenrust makes a strong start

In the women's event, Dutch cyclist Monique Zeldenrust has one hand firmly wrapped around the Crocodile Trophy, following an impressive climbing performance on the opening stage from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo.

Zeldenrust managed to open up a gap of more than 22 minutes on her nearest rival, Austria's Lisa Pleyer, with Australia's Abby McLennan (Team Rattle & Hum) holding onto third. Despite her recent experience of Australian riding conditions at the UCI World Championships in Canberra, the Dutch cyclist found the conditions in the high mountains of Tropical North Queensland to be something on an altogether new level.

"I'm surprised with starting so fast and I didn't see any women, so I went through and rode with some guys," Zeldenrust said.
"On the last climb I had some problems with my stomach and I stopped eating.

"I also had burning feet, something I have not experienced before."

The burning feet could be a taste of things to come for Zeldenrust. The conditions for stage one of the Crocodile Trophy were mild by Northern Australian standards and it's likely to heat up greatly when the race heads into the Outback in coming days.

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schöckli-Craft4:05:28 
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team0:02:02 
3Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club0:25:37 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:36:01 
5Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure0:43:34 
6Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Dream Team0:47:43 
7Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:51:08 
8Daris Zubani (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura0:59:28 
9Ivan Negro (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura1:07:11 
10Steve Rankine (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery1:10:50 
11Morten Larsen (Den) Team Sun-Print1:16:43 
12Shane Taylor (Aus)1:20:16 
13James Banner-Smith (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:44:02 
14Christoph Kirchmeier (Aut)1:59:10 
DNFMatej Mugerli (Slo) Matej & Jure  
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)5:03:43 
2Lisa Pleyer (Aut) Roadbike Holidays - KTM0:22:01 
3Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum0:29:11 
4Eva Hasek (Cze) Outdoor Sports Club1:00:56 
5Sharman Parr (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine2:19:06 
Master men 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Raimund Burböck (Aut)4:49:02 
2Isaac Tonello (Aus)0:04:08 
3Nikolaus Syc (Ger)0:07:35 
4Sam Nathan (Aus) Team Nathan0:08:40 
5Alexander Valdiek (Ger) JRV Team Deutsche Sepsisgesellschaft0:10:29 
6Glen De Bont (Bel) Shifting Gears0:11:47 
7Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik-Focus0:11:59 
8Sam Brovender (Can) Team SDC Chris Nicholson1:03:57 
9Dennis Bergen (Den) Team Sun-Print1:08:01 
10Ron Whitehead (Aus) Ron Whitehead1:21:14 
11Per Imer (Den) Team Sun-Print1:21:48 
Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schöckli-Craft20 pts
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team15 
3Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club10 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)5 
4Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure2 
Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dream Team14:44:08 
2Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:21:56 
3Rattle N Hum2:13:10 
4Team Sun-Print2:45:56 
5Team Kees Fietsshop3:01:40 
6Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine7:24:19 
Elite men General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schöckli-Craft4:05:28 
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team0:02:02 
3Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club0:25:37 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:36:01 
5Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure0:43:34 
6Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Dream Team0:47:43 
7Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:51:08 
8Daris Zubani (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura0:59:28 
9Ivan Negro (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura1:07:11 
10Steve Rankine (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery1:10:50 
11Morten Larsen (Den) Team Sun-Print1:16:43 
12Shane Taylor (Aus)1:20:16 
13James Banner-Smith (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:44:02 
14Christoph Kirchmeier (Aut)1:59:10 
DNFMatej Mugerli (Slo) Matej & Jure  
Elite women general classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)5:03:43 
2Lisa Pleyer (Aut) Roadbike Holidays - KTM0:22:01 
3Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum0:29:11 
4Eva Hasek (Cze) Outdoor Sports Club1:00:56 
5Sharman Parr (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine2:19:06 
Master men 1 general classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Raimund Burböck (Aut)4:49:02 
2Isaac Tonello (Aus)0:04:08 
3Nikolaus Syc (Ger)0:07:35 
4Sam Nathan (Aus) Team Nathan0:08:40 
5Alexander Valdiek (Ger) JRV Team Deutsche Sepsisgesellschaft0:10:29 
6Glen De Bont (Bel) Shifting Gears0:11:47 
7Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik-Focus0:11:59 
8Sam Brovender (Can) Team SDC Chris Nicholson1:03:57 
9Dennis Bergen (Den) Team Sun-Print1:08:01 
10Ron Whitehead (Aus) Ron Whitehead1:21:14 
11Per Imer (Den) Team Sun-Print1:21:48 
Points classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schöckli-Craft20 pts
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team15 
3Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club10 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)5 
4Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure2 
Team classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dream Team14:44:08 
2Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:21:56 
3Rattle N Hum2:13:10 
4Team Sun-Print2:45:56 
5Team Kees Fietsshop3:01:40 
6Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine7:24:19 

 

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