Brentjens Wins at Outback Chillagoe

Huber leads overall by just under two minutes

The great Dutchman Bart Brentjens today recorded his second Crocodile Trophy stage victory after outsprinting Swiss marathon specialist Urs Huber to the finish line of a gruelling 157-kilometre Outback marathon from Irvinebank to Chillagoe.

Brentjens was forced to call upon all of his energy reserves during the longest stage of Australia's Outback classic, after puncturing at the 20-kilometre mark and riding himself back into the lead group.

In the end pure class shone through as Brentjens and Huber stepped on the gas, leaving in their wake the big talking Jure Robic, who had designs on winning the Chillagoe stage for the fourth time.

"It actually was a really long day on the bike, from the beginning it was really rough, lots of stones on the descent, pretty technical," Brentjens said.

"I had a flat tyre after I think 20k, so I changed my tyre and then I came back, but still it was a long way to Chillagoe."

Taking into account time bonuses, Brentjens managed to peg back the margin between himself and Huber on the general classification to one minute and 57 seconds.

Brentjens will scan the race road book tonight, searching for technical sections to attack Huber over coming days, but may have to wait until the sandy Mount Mulgrave-Laura stage in three day's time for a serious assault on the race lead.

"Today at the end it was not technical enough to make a difference so we had to sprint for the victory," Brentjens said. "Hopefully there will be some more technical parts later in the race."

Fortunately, the Europeans were treated to unseasonably cool weather on today's journey to Chillagoe and it suited Huber, the overall race leader, who achieved his major objective.

"I think it was the longest day and not really much hills, so my object was to stay with Bart, in the sprint he was better," Huber said.

"In the first part with up and downhills I was stronger I think and then he had a flat tyre.

"It was too long to go alone, so I slowed down and waited for him to join the group."

Despite promising to be with the leaders at the business end of today's stage, Slovenian Jure Robic was unable to produce the pure power when it mattered most. When the race ventured onto an old disused railway cutting near Mount Garnett, Robic was left with the difficult decision of whether to ride alone or wait for the next group that contained Australia's up and coming talent Josh Prete.

Testament to the bravery of the Slovenian military man, Robic soldiered on alone all the way to the finish and even made up time on Brentjens and Huber over the final 57 kilometres of mostly dirt road to Chillagoe.

"I'm satisfied with my performance because I go really well in the climbs," Robic said. "With such great riders as Bart Brentjens and Huber, I couldn't follow them in the downhills."

But the four-time solo winner of the Race Across America is yet to give up on his Crocodile Trophy ambitions, continuing a love affair with the race he describes as "the most beautiful race in the world",

"It's still a long race and I will search for my next chance in the other stages," Robic said.

Australia's Rankine plagued by bad luck

Considered one of the serious threats for today's stage given his grinding ability on a parcours that clearly suited his attributes, Australian Steve Rankine of the Tropical Tableland Discovery Team could only wonder what might have been on a day when just about everything that could go wrong, went wrong.

The 28-year-old former professional triathlete couldn't remember a day during his career when he had to call upon more mental toughness after suffering three flat tyres and crashing in grand fashion with the Crocodile Trophy media team rolling on the action.

Rankine and team leader Josh Prete were with the lead group when he suffered the first of three punctures.

"My legs were feeling great, I was climbing with the leaders and we were out miles ahead, I was helping my teammate Josh (Prete)," Rankine said.

Then came the spectacular crash as Rankine lost his front wheel at a dry creek crossing and finished up buried in the sand.

"By far, I can't remember how many times I've had to dig deep, as an eventful race it would be definitely on the top," Rankine recalled of his epic day in the saddle.

"I just seemed to able to find things were I couldn't find it you know and every time I fell off and got knocked down I got back up.

"I was mentally tough and that's what really counted today."

Rankine's mental toughness and willingness to fight on were well rewarded. The Tropical Tableland Discovery Team managed to hold off a resurgent Coopers Dream Team to maintain the lead in the teams category. Rankine's teammates Josh Prete (6th overall) and Isaac Tonello (10th) have also performed well above expectation against the visiting Europeans.

Zeldenrust feeling the heat, but still on top

Dutch cyclist Monique Zeldenrust admitted today to feeling the effects of the blistering outback sun, but it appears to have had little impact on what has so far been an unblemished performance in the 2009 Crocodile Trophy.

One of the best credentialed female cyclists to compete in the event during it's history, Zeldenrust has established a commanding lead in the General Classification and with a buffer of well over 40 minutes, only needs to avoid illness, major crashes or flat tyres to score a race victory.

"My feet are burning and my knees are sore it was a long day," Zeldenrust said at the end of today's 157-kilometre stage.

But the Netherlands mountain biker is cautious about what lies ahead.

"It's still a long way to go, it is only half way, we will see," Zeldenrust said. "There's a long way to go I'm happy that I'm here now and that I'm the first one in.

Austria's Lisa Pleyer holds onto second on the general classification following a solid performance during today's stage, while Australia's Abby McLennan of the Rattle & Hum team lost more than a half an hour to the race leader.

"It was a really tough day today," McLennan admitted.

"I wasn't feeling well to begin with and then I crashed, hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow."

Tomorrow will be the closest the Crocodile Trophy comes to having a rest day, with riders embarking on a 100 kilometre out and back rolling stage from Chillagoe. In previous years this has suited the pure time trialists in the field, given the G.C. contenders will most likely take is easy ahead of the brutal stage to Mount Mulgrave on Sunday.

Elite Men
1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team4:56:07 
2Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schackli-Craft  
3Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure0:10:52 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:15:47 
5Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:15:48 
6Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club0:17:51 
7Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Dream Team0:32:48 
8Steve Rankine (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:39:04 
9Shane Taylor (Aus)0:39:17 
10Ivan Negro (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura1:06:24 
11Daris Zubani (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura1:14:52 
12Morten Larsen (Den) Team Sun-Print1:28:35 
13Christoph Kirchmeier (Aut)1:31:32 
14James Banner-Smith (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:50:01 
Elite Women
1Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)6:10:59 
2Lisa Pleyer (Aut) Roadbike Holidays - KTM0:13:57 
3Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum0:35:09 
4Eva Hasek (Cze) Outdoor Sports Club1:26:55 
5Sharman Parr (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine2:32:57 
1Alexander Valdiek (Ger) JRV Team Deutsche Sepsisgesellschaft5:35:24 
2Nikolaus Syc (Ger)0:07:21 
3Isaac Tonello (Aus)  
4Raimund Burback (Aut)  
5Glen De Bont (Bel) Shifting Gears  
6Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik-Focus  
7Sam Nathan (Aus) Team Nathan0:21:19 
8Per Imer (Den) Team Sun-Print0:35:35 
9Dennis Bergen (Den) Team Sun-Print0:49:18 
10Ron Whitehead (Aus) Ron Whitehead0:49:32 
11Sam Brovender (Can) Team SDC Chris Nicholson0:55:36 
12Jesse Hovestreijdt (Ned)1:57:12 
1Frederik Zierke (Ger) Dream Team5:28:55 
2Milan Spolc (Cze)  
3Branko Grah (Aut) Team RC Sereno0:06:29 
4Gunter Weichbold (Aut)0:13:50 
5Erich Reith (Aut)0:14:29 
6Pieter van Rooyen SAF Team Van Rooyen0:42:04 
7Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Team Tomesetig0:55:47 
8Yvan Vekemans (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville1:00:39 
9Josef Neururer (Swi) Velolade-Hittnau.ch1:02:05 
10Chris Nicholson (Aus) Team SDC Chris Nicholson  
11Kees Zuidhoek (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop  
12Mohammed Boufessile (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville1:06:52 
13Geert Matthijs (Bel) Team Matthys1:07:23 
14Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:17:13 
15Bernhard Weixelbaum (Aut) Team RC Sereno1:21:00 
16Theo Molenbrugge (Ned) Theo Molenbrugge1:28:25 
17Jorg Steenbock (Ger) WINGSforLife.com1:35:11 
18Rudolf Hansgut (Cze)1:38:55 
19Marten Zeldenrust (Ned)1:53:30 
20Andrew Graham (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine1:57:09 
21Hennie Schoonheim (Ned)2:08:59 
22Willemjan Hopstaken (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop2:34:03 
23Paul van Hattem (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop2:34:04 
24Aaron Pickett-Heaps (Aus)  
25Greg Parr (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine3:15:01 
26Heinz von Holzen (Swi)3:52:00 
27Jan van Baast (Ned)  
28Erik Stokman (Ned)  
29Erwin Klocker (Aus)  
30Philipp Herzog (Aus)  
31Chris Neal (Aus)  
DNFGünter Rafeiner (Aut)  
DNFKlaus Sever (Aut) Radsport Weichberger BionX  
DNFMatej Mugerli (Slo) Matej & Jure  
Elite Men standings
1Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schackli-Craft11:56:42 
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team0:01:57 
3Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club0:54:09 
4Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure0:54:51 
5Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:56:09 
6Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery1:11:17 
7Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Dream Team1:35:55 
8Steve Rankine (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery2:02:56 
9Shane Taylor (Aus)2:20:04 
10Daris Zubani (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura2:29:44 
11Ivan Negro (Ita) Neviprogettoavventura2:50:06 
12Morten Larsen (Den) Team Sun-Print3:13:13 
13James Banner-Smith (Aus) Rattle N Hum4:19:49 
14Christoph Kirchmeier (Aut)4:21:51 
Elite Women standings
1Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)14:37:44 
2Lisa Pleyer (Aut) Roadbike Holidays - KTM0:47:44 
3Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:22:11 
4Eva Hasek (Cze) Outdoor Sports Club2:59:40 
5Sharman Parr (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine6:06:15 
M1 standings
1Raimund Burback (Aut)13:42:18 
2Isaac Tonello (Aus)0:04:08 
3Alexander Valdiek (Ger) JRV Team Deutsche Sepsisgesellschaft0:08:20 
4Nikolaus Syc (Ger)0:09:43 
5Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik-Focus0:17:59 
6Glen De Bont (Bel) Shifting Gears0:24:18 
7Sam Nathan (Aus) Team Nathan0:28:38 
8Per Imer (Den) Team Sun-Print2:02:33 
9Sam Brovender (Can) Team SDC Chris Nicholson2:17:41 
10Dennis Bergen (Den) Team Sun-Print2:19:55 
11Ron Whitehead (Aus) Ron Whitehead2:28:54 
12Jesse Hovestreijdt (Ned)4:35:57 
M2 standings
1Milan Spolc (Cze)13:28:49 
2Branko Grah (Aut) Team RC Sereno0:19:11 
3Frederik Zierke (Ger) Dream Team0:32:55 
4Erich Reith (Aut)0:43:11 
5Gunter Weichbold (Aut)0:45:15 
6Pieter van Rooyen SAF Team Van Rooyen1:39:49 
7Josef Neururer (Swi) Velolade-Hittnau.ch2:09:23 
8Yvan Vekemans (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville2:12:34 
9Mohammed Boufessile (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville2:23:41 
10Chris Nicholson (Aus) Team SDC Chris Nicholson2:31:10 
11Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Team Tomesetig2:32:55 
12Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum2:33:06 
13Kees Zuidhoek (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop2:41:38 
14Bernhard Weixelbaum (Aut) Team RC Sereno3:00:21 
15Geert Matthijs (Bel) Team Matthys3:03:20 
16Rudolf Hansgut (Cze)3:25:50 
17Theo Molenbrugge (Ned) Theo Molenbrugge3:41:40 
18Marten Zeldenrust (Ned)3:43:12 
19Paul van Hattem (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop3:54:47 
20Jörg Steenbock (Ger) WINGSforLife.com3:56:30 
21Willemjan Hopstaken (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop4:24:18 
22Hennie Schoonheim (Ned)4:53:27 
23Aaron Pickett-Heaps (Aus)5:00:39 
24Andrew Graham (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine5:27:15 
25Heinz von Holzen (Swi)6:37:25 
26Greg Parr (Aus) Jungle Patrol, Wilderness Medicine6:45:07 
27Philipp Herzog (Aus)7:21:57 
28Erwin Klocker (Aus)  
29Jan van Baast (Ned)7:32:17 
30Erik Stokman (Ned)8:03:45 
31Chris Neal (Aus)8:05:21 
Points classification
1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team55pts
2Urs Huber (Swi) Team Schackli-Craft50 
3Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure22 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)12 
5Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club10 
6Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery7 
Teams classification
1Tropical Tablelands Discovery40:54:03 
2Dream Team0:09:07 
3Team Sun-Print6:02:56 
4Rattle N Hum7:24:18 
5Team Kees Fietsshop10:33:07 
6jungle patrol; wilderness medicine18:59:56 


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