Brentjens and McLennan win at Mt Mulgrave

Dutchman cuts Hubers GC lead, Zeldenrust continues to lead in women's race

Dutchman Bart Brentjens launched a determined assault on the race leader's jersey of Swiss cyclist Urs Huber and in the process claimed his fourth stage victory as the Crocodile Trophy reached Mount Mulgrave Station.

The former World and Olympic champion chose the perfect moment to attack on a stage littered with seemingly never-ending obstacles, including stony creek crossings, deep sand patches and blinding bulldust.

Brentjens and Huber were part of a four-man lead group, that also contained Belgian Mike Mulkens and Australian Josh Prete. The quartet held together until hitting deep sand at the 100 kilometre mark.

"I saved as much energy as I could until the big river crossing that everybody was afraid of," Brentjens said after one of the toughest victories of his career. "It was like 5 kilometres of really deep sand before the crossing and everybody was struggling a little bit."

Brentjens attacked Huber in the stony, dry river bed of the Mitchell River. Its a crossing Crocodile Trophy competitors in previous years have had to swim across.

"Nobody got away until the last few hundred metres through the river where there were some walking parts, big rocks, stones, but no water anymore," Brentjens said. "On the other side, we had to climb up out of the river, and I got a gap."

The Trek-Bart Brentjens team owner continued at full gas, hoping to peg back the margin of almost two minutes between himself and Huber in the general classification.

Ten kilometres out from the finish, with the gap between himself and Huber growing, the Dutchman appeared to have the on-course lead. That was until "the man with the hammer", whose presence at the Crocodile Trophy is feared, hit Brentjens from above.

"I gave everything I had for 25 kilometres. At the beginning it was really good, I had power, but I died the last 5 kilometres," Brentjens admitted. "The man with the hammer came down, I was totally black, my feet were burning and my head, I couldn't see anything.

"I was so lucky that I saw the finish and I had a small gap, but he's (Huber) a tough guy."

Huber finished the marathon 137-kilometre stage clearly the fresher of the two main contenders for overall. He also managed to limit the damage inflicted by Brentjens to around 40 seconds, with the time gap between himself and the Dutchman standing at one minute and six seconds.

"Yes, today it was not the high temperatures that were the problem. My problem was the sand, Brentjens is very strong in the sand," Huber said post-stage.

"Thirty kilometres before the finish, he attacked and came in front. It did not look good for me but the last 10 kilometres, I came nearer to him."

Belgian Mike Mulkens produced his best ride yet at the 2009 Crocodile Trophy to claim third for the stage and third place in the overall classification. In the process, he managed to unseat Jure Robic from the top three after the Slovenian appeared to struggle with today's savage pace.

"From the start I had good legs today," Mulkens said. "The hills came and the deep sand, from my personal perspective, I rode better through the sand.

The Belgian held on with the leaders as long as he could, but the pace of Brentjens, combined with the heat proved too much.

"Brentjens, he is like a scooter," Mulkens said. "And it was so hot today, I kept pouring bidons over my head to cool down."

Australia's Josh Prete of the Tropical Tableland Discovery Team managed to put yesterday's flat tyre disaster behind him to produce arguably his best ride yet at the Crocodile Trophy.

The teenager finished fourth on today's stage and managed to hang onto the Brentjens group until the soft sand before the Mitchell River crossing.

"Yeah it was good, but a super hard day through the tight technical rocky crossings," Prete said. "I was suffering heaps, wasn't able to get the right gears and through the sand it hurt so much, today's stage was unbelievable."

Prete's Tropical Tableland Discovery teammates Isaac Tonello and Steve Rankine finished eighth and ninth today.

It was an impressive all-around team effort, but still not enough to haul in the lead of the Coopers Dream Team, led by Germany's former Tour de France rider Kai Hundertmark.

McLennan Wins Mount Mulgrave Stage

Six days of hard slogging at the Crocodile Trophy were finally rewarded today for Australia's Abby McLennan, who achieved what she had always wanted from this race: To earn one of the boomerangs awarded to the stage winners.

After battling an intestinal ailment for two days, the leader of the Rattle & Hum team found her best form and was the only woman in the field to hang onto the leader's group until the first checkpoint.

McLennan ran into some on-course dramas from there, with husband Scott, one of her two team helpers, puncturing just after the feed zone.

She also punctured, but borrowed a wheel from teammate James Banner-Smith as she ploughed on alone. She was later joined by women's race leader Monique Zeldenrust, who decided to back off slightly today with sizeable race lead still intact.

In a sporting gesture, Zeldenrust offered the stage to McLennan, who had shared the effort on one of the Trophy's toughest journeys.

"I can't believe it, it's a dream come true, Monique is such a good sport and she rewarded me for working hard, so it's really good, I'm just lost for words," McLennan said. "I felt good today I was strong but I had a few issues with flat tyres and James [Banner-Smith] got me going again."

Rescue Doctor Undergoes Surgery

In a bizarre twist, the doctor responsible for administering emergency first aid to the Dutch competitor who suffered seizures earlier this week today found himself on the operating table after suffering a head injury.

Doctor Andrew Graham, who is racing the Crocodile Trophy with the Jungle Patrol Wilderness Medicine Team, hit the deck early in today's stage. When he came around, the first person on scene to help was Dutchman Willemjan Hopstaken, the man he saved from a potentially life threatening concussion just three days ago.

Graham struggled on through the stage and needed stitches from the race doctor as the sun set over Mount Mulgrave Station. It's sure to be the beginning of a lifelong friendship for Hopstaken and Graham, provide the two can remain upright for the remainder of the race.

Elite men's results
1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens Mtb racing team4:21:09 
2Urs Huber (Swi) Team Stöckli-Craft0:00:41 
3Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:06:23 
4Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:13:19 
5Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Dream Team0:14:31 
6Steve Rankine (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:17:26 
7Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure0:19:33 
8Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club0:26:41 
9Shane Taylor (Aus)0:46:51 
10Daris Zubani (Ita) NEVIPROGETTOAVVENTURA0:48:07 
11Morten Larsen (Den) Team Sun-Print0:55:17 
12Ivan Negro (Ita) NEVIPROGETTOAVVENTURA1:07:27 
13James Banner-Smith (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:08:30 
14Christoph Kirchmeier (Aut)1:21:07 
Women's elite results
1Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum5:20:12 
2Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)0:00:01 
3Lisa Pleyer (Aut) Roadbike Holidays - KTM0:28:12 
4Eva Hasek (Cze) Outdoor sports club1:24:58 
5Sharman Parr (Aus) jungle patrol; wilderness medicine2:12:05 
Men's masters 1 results
1Isaac Tonello (Aus)4:38:35 
2Alexander Valdiek (Ger) JRV Team Deutsche Sepsisgesellschaft0:14:27 
3Glen De Bont (Bel) Shifting Gears0:15:47 
4Nikolaus Syc (Ger)0:20:05 
5Raimund Burböck (Aut)0:26:15 
6Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik-Focus0:27:53 
7Sam Nathan (Aus) Team Nathan0:35:17 
8Per Imer (Den) Team Sun-Print0:40:46 
9Ron Whitehead (Aus) Ron Whitehead0:43:16 
10Dennis Bergen (Den) Team Sun-Print0:57:15 
11Sam Brovender (Can) Team SDC Chris Nicholson0:57:16 
Men's masters 2 results
1Branko Grah (Aut) Team RC Sereno4:35:45 
2Milan Spolc (Cze) Dream Team0:00:10 
3Günter Weichbold (Aut)0:22:17 
4Erich Reith (Aut)0:22:18 
5Frederik Zierke (Ger) Dream Team0:39:36 
6Pieter van Rooyen (Rsa) Team Van Rooyen0:43:46 
7Chris Nicholson (Aus) Team SDC Chris Nicholson0:46:06 
8Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Team Tomesetig  
9Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum0:53:54 
10Josef Neururer (Swi) Velolade-Hittnau.ch1:00:06 
11Rudolf Hansgut (Cze)1:10:49 
12Kees Zuidhoek (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop  
13Yvan Vekemans (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville1:11:47 
14Jörg Steenbock (Ger) WINGSforLife.com1:20:39 
15Marten Zeldenrust (Ned)1:21:22 
16Mohammed Boufessile (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville2:05:21 
17Geert Matthijs (Bel) Team Matthys  
18Bernhard Weixelbaum (Aut) Team RC Sereno2:12:16 
19Willemjan Hopstaken (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop2:34:39 
20Aaron Pickett-Heaps (Aus)  
21Hennie Schoonheim (Ned)2:55:21 
22Paul van Hattem (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop2:56:32 
23Theo Molenbrugge (Ned) Theo Molenbrugge  
24Greg Parr (Aus) jungle patrol; wilderness medicine  
25Andrew Graham (Aus) jungle patrol; wilderness medicine  
26Erwin Klocker (Aus)3:44:13 
27Heinz von Holzen (Swi)  
28Erik Stokman (Ned)  
29Jan van Baast (Ned)  
30Chris Neal (Aus)3:47:01 
Other divisions and DNF
1Klaus Sever (Aut) Radsport Weichberger BionX7:37:10 
DNFJesse Hovestreijdt (Ned)  
DNFPhilipp Herzog (Aus)  
DNFGünter Rafeiner (Aut)  
1Bart Brentjens (Ned)20pts
2Urs Huber (Swi)15 
3Mike Mulkens (Bel)10 
4Josh Prete (Aus)5 
5Kai Hundertmark (Ger)2 
1Tropical Tablelands Discovery13:51:38 
2Dream Team0:35:18 
3Team Sun-Print2:19:59 
4Rattle N Hum2:27:52 
5Team Kees Fietsshop6:37:37 
6Jungle patrol; Wilderness medicine8:45:13 
Men's elite general classification
1Urs Huber (Swi) Team Stöckli-Craft19:33:46 
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek-Brentjens mtb racing team0:01:06 
3Mike Mulkens (Bel)1:02:07 
4Jurij Robic (Slo) Matej & Jure1:13:59 
5Tomas Kozak (Cze) Di-ELCOM-Outdoor sports club1:29:32 
6Kai Hundertmark (Ger) Dream Team2:12:00 
7Steve Rankine (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery2:25:03 
8Josh Prete (Aus) Tropical Tablelands Discovery3:16:32 
9Shane Taylor (Aus)3:17:55 
10Daris Zubani (Ita) NEVIPROGETTOAVVENTURA3:26:31 
11Ivan Negro (Ita) NEVIPROGETTOAVVENTURA4:34:52 
12Morten Larsen (Den) Team Sun-Print4:43:51 
13James Banner-Smith (Aus) Rattle N Hum6:15:44 
14Christoph Kirchmeier (Aut)6:38:24 
Women's elite general classification
1Monique Zeldenrust (Ned)23:51:11 
2Lisa Pleyer (Aut) Roadbike Holidays - KTM1:23:52 
3Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:32:16 
4Eva Hasek (Cze) Outdoor sports club5:11:21 
5Sharman Parr (Aus) jungle patrol; wilderness medicine9:28:00 
Masters 1 general classification
1Isaac Tonello (Aus)21:49:36 
2Alexander Valdiek (Ger) JRV Team Deutsche Sepsisgesellschaft0:18:39 
3Nikolaus Syc (Ger)0:25:35 
4Raimund Burböck (Aut)0:35:02 
5Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik-Focus0:58:04 
6Glen De Bont (Bel) Shifting Gears1:04:36 
7Sam Nathan (Aus) Team Nathan1:19:55 
8Per Imer (Den) Team Sun-Print3:07:50 
9Sam Brovender (Can) Team SDC Chris Nicholson3:49:19 
10Dennis Bergen (Den) Team Sun-Print3:49:38 
11Ron Whitehead (Aus) Ron Whitehead3:56:11 
Masters 2 general classification
1Milan Spolc (Cze) Dream Team21:27:29 
2Branko Grah (Aut) Team RC Sereno0:27:27 
3Erich Reith (Aut)1:20:03 
4Günter Weichbold (Aut)1:25:32 
5Frederik Zierke (Ger) Dream Team1:42:50 
6Pieter van Rooyen SAF Team Van Rooyen3:00:21 
7Josef Neururer (Swi) Velolade-Hittnau.ch3:49:39 
8Chris Nicholson (Aus) Team SDC Chris Nicholson3:58:26 
9Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Team Tomesetig3:59:26 
10Yvan Vekemans (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville4:04:31 
11Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum4:07:25 
12Kees Zuidhoek (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop4:37:59 
13Rudolf Hansgut (Cze)5:26:28 
14Mohammed Boufessile (Bel) Belgian Power/Granville5:37:18 
15Jörg Steenbock (Ger) WINGSforLife.com5:57:22 
16Geert Matthijs (Bel) Team Matthys6:01:18 
17Bernhard Weixelbaum (Aut) Team RC Sereno6:09:34 
18Marten Zeldenrust (Ned)6:15:17 
19Theo Molenbrugge (Ned) Theo Molenbrugge7:39:42 
20Hennie Schoonheim (Ned)9:12:38 
21Aaron Pickett-Heaps (Aus)9:15:18 
22Andrew Graham (Aus) jungle patrol; wilderness medicine9:25:17 
23Paul van Hattem (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop9:28:15 
24Willemjan Hopstaken (Ned) Team Kees Fietsshop9:35:53 
25Greg Parr (Aus) jungle patrol; wilderness medicine10:43:09 
26Heinz von Holzen (Swi)12:01:38 
27Erwin Klocker (Aus)12:03:07 
28Jan van Baast (Ned)12:52:05 
29Erik Stokman (Ned)13:27:58 
30Chris Neal (Aus)13:32:22 
Points classification
1Bart Brentjens (Ned)95pts
2Urs Huber (Swi)80 
3Jurij Robic (Slo)32 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel)27 
5Josh Prete (Aus)12 
6Tomas Kozak (Cze)10 
7Steve Rankine (Aus)2 
7Kai Hundertmark (Ger)2 
Teams general classification
1Dream Team66:23:34 
2Tropical Tablelands Discovery0:15:09 
3Team Sun-Print8:30:43 
4Rattle N Hum10:24:17 
5Team Kees Fietsshop21:41:00 
6Jungle patrol; Wilderness medicine29:59:01 


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