Huber overcomes Mount Misery to win stage 3

Boelen puts up a good fight for second

On the steep uphills to Irvinebank, Swiss marathon champion Urs Huber showed again that nobody can beat him on the longer climbs; however, the difference between him and Dutch rider Jeroen Boelen was only six seconds. Huber lost precious time not daring to cross a deep river on the bike. At the 17th Crocodile Trophy, all cards are still on the table...

Worldwide, the race is known as "the world's longest and hardest mountain bike adventure for professionals and amateurs", and it was adventurous spirit and improvisational skills that prevailed at Koombooloomba Dam. On the eve of the stage, in the flooded race camp, the organizers decided not to race to Gunnawara but to Irvinebank, to spare racers from a gruelling stage along the Powerline Track after a sleepless night in leaking tents for a lot of competitors.

The race that was on the (new) menu was nice: 36km of easy off-road trails followed by 22km asphalt and 38km of real mountain biking on undulating terrain. The final section of the stage did reward riders for the past two wet days and a freezing night with fast and sweeping descents.

It had stopped raining, the sun tried hard to come out and the trails were grippy. However, the sign at the final turn off to Irvinebank - "Mount Misery Road" - short and steep pitches kept challenging the riders' endurance on the final kilometres into the small mining town.

"What am I doing here? I wished that I was anywhere but out there on those last 10km," said Australian rider Brad Davies. "So hard, but such a nice ride!" Davies was the big surprise of the day. The 41-year-old Melbourne based rider was the only Master, even Master 2, rider in the elite front group that powered to the finish. That group was formed immediately after a breakneck speedy start.

Besides Davies, there were Huber, Boelen, Wolfgang Krenn and Mike Mulkens, the top four of the GC, as well as Josef Benedseder, Christoff Sokoll, Kevin Hulsmans and Chang Min Park.

The three Australians Mark Griffin, Justin Morris and Ashley Hayat were only able to keep up with those nine riders for 6km, then it was over and out for them. Missing in the front group was Korean Geeni Yong Choi, who punctured his front tire on the first kilometer, and his bad luck continued as he rolled across the finish line with another flat rear tire. Dutch rider Huub Duijn, another unlucky rider, was closely in pursuit of the Korean. He had misunderstood announcements at the rider briefing and thought there would be a neutralized start. That wasn't the case and he missed his spot in the lead group.

The nine riders in that lead group worked together well, knowing nobody would try to break away before that terrible Mount Misery Road. Also, the "veteran" in the group, Davies did his part of the job. "Honestly, contrary to many others, I had a good night's sleep, even better than the night before when I had a lot of water puddles in my tent. I share the tent with Jessica Douglas, who leads the women category. We both slept very well," said Davies, who was fifth last year at the 24-hour solo world championships in Canberra.

With 25km to go, Huber and Boelen thought it was time to accelerate. They did it smoothly, but firmly. No surprise attack, just accelerating very strongly. The first one they left behind was Park, then Sokoll fell back, followed by Davies (who had a flat tire) and finally Hulsmans had to let the others go. A bit further on and Krenn and Mulkens couldn't keep up anymore.

Only Josef Benedseder from Austria was able to follow Boelen and Huber. The race was on as the road continued to go uphill, and Huber attacked again. It was time to get rid of Boelen. Huber succeeded. First the Austrian rider exploded, then Boelen, too. From then on, it would only be a question of staying safely on the bike to win the stage.

"Uphill I saw Urs Huber constantly some 300 meters in front of me, which is quite a lot when you climb, on the downhill sections he disappeared out of sight," said Boelen. "The last 5km were technically challenging. Three times I nearly crashed on that descent. That was the point where I decided not to take any risks any more, but suddenly I saw Huber walking through a deep river crossing.

"I took all risks and rode through the river, putting my weight to the back and hoping not to crash. I succeeded to cross the river on the bike. Suddenly only 50 meters separated me from Huber. Unfortunately we were already too close to the finish for me to take advantage of it."

Huber won his second consecutive stage and increases his lead in the GC with six seconds.
"When you ride in the front, those river crossings are hard to take," said Huber. You have no idea how deep the water is or how rideable or walkable the surface is. I didn't dare to take a risk. The most important thing for me was to keep this nice leader's jersey."

Tomorrow's stage will take riders on an 84km race with start and finish at Irvinebank. Huber again will start in the red Crocodile Trophy leader's jersey with Jeroen Boelen following in the white jersey of the points classification.

Full Results

Men stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team3:06:56 
2Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek0:00:06 
3Josef Benedseder (Aut)0:02:52 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team0:03:24 
5Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:05:22 
6Christoph Sokoll (Aut)0:13:00 
7Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:13:03 
8Chang Min Park (Kor) Team Korea0:14:45 
9Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:17:55 
10Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:19:01 
11Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:30:03 
12Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution  
13Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea0:43:38 
14Bruno Naessens (Bel)0:44:27 
15Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team  
16Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel)1:00:55 
17Sam Van De Gucht (Bel)1:00:56 
18Chris Hellman (Aus)1:05:50 
19Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 12:09:40 
Women stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Douglas (Aus)3:57:38 
2Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass1:57:31 
Handcycle stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Patrik Doak (USA) Team Van Be Venture5:28:00 
1Carlos Moleda (USA) Team Van Be Venture  
M1 stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com3:25:03 
2Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution0:02:07 
3Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail  
4Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:08:15 
5Michal Lanik (Cze)0:11:47 
6Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:11:56 
7René Haselbacher (Aut)0:29:48 
8Steve Petre (Aus)0:29:50 
9Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:35:46 
10Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc0:35:47 
11Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:35:57 
12Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution0:39:21 
13Werner Van Vuuren (Aus)0:43:11 
14Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:44:43 
15Peter Roelens (Bel)0:52:59 
16Frederic Starck (Bel)0:55:39 
17Laurent Tesch (Bel)0:55:40 
18Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea0:56:09 
19Michael Taylor (Aus)1:08:32 
20Andreas Buchegger (Aut)1:17:38 
21Dirk Hörnig (Ger)1:46:50 
22Christophe Demeyere (Bel)1:53:46 
23Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita)2:02:25 
M2 stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brad Davies (Aus)3:21:42 
2Shaun Portegys (NZl)0:03:50 
3Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:39:08 
4Carl Maroney (Aus)0:39:20 
5Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc0:43:08 
6Thomas Holmberg (Den)0:46:18 
7Markus Frey (Swi)0:55:15 
8Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel)0:58:58 
9Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux)1:07:25 
10Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos1:16:21 
11Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos1:16:29 
12Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos  
13John Boswell (Aus)1:22:40 
14Marc Baechli (Swi)1:39:03 
15Gianni Banterla (Ita)2:05:46 
16Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture2:06:18 
17Blair King (NZl)2:07:21 
18Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 22:11:58 
M3 stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team4:15:28 
2Dennis Bowen-Day (Aus)0:03:10 
3Andreas Wittmann (Ger)0:05:14 
4Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)0:23:11 
5Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut)0:34:43 
6Ronny Potter (Bel) Ronny Potter1:11:35 
7Greg Parr (Aus) kickass1:39:41 
Tandem
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel)4:41:53 
2Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia0:44:40 
Men general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team6:22:57 
2Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek0:04:11 
3Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:17:29 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team0:21:49 
5Josef Benedseder (Aut)0:23:07 
6Christoph Sokoll (Aut)0:33:18 
7Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:33:22 
8Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:38:13 
9Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:39:20 
10Chang Min Park (Kor) Team Korea0:50:03 
11Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea1:03:59 
12Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution1:10:24 
13Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing1:19:10 
14Bruno Naessens (Bel)1:35:11 
15Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team1:53:45 
16Sam Van De Gucht (Bel)2:18:49 
17Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel)  
18Chris Hellman (Aus)2:25:22 
19Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 14:33:59 
Women general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Douglas (Aus)8:17:56 
2Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass4:10:40 
Handcycle general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Patrik Doak (USA) Team Van Be Venture17:47:13 
1Carlos Moleda (USA) Team Van Be Venture  
M1 general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution7:03:52 
2Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:03:57 
3Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail0:05:21 
4Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:24:24 
5Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:24:50 
6Michal Lanik (Cze)0:28:22 
7René Haselbacher (Aut)0:46:25 
8Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution1:01:26 
9Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing1:02:16 
10Steve Petre (Aus)1:10:02 
11Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20111:14:35 
12Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc1:30:53 
13Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing1:35:20 
14Werner Van Vuuren (Aus)1:39:36 
15Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea1:40:28 
16Peter Roelens (Bel)1:51:15 
17Andreas Buchegger (Aut)2:28:03 
18Michael Taylor (Aus)2:37:07 
19Frederic Starck (Bel)2:50:55 
20Laurent Tesch (Bel)2:50:56 
21Christophe Demeyere (Bel)3:38:43 
22Dirk Hörnig (Ger)3:48:57 
23Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita)3:51:16 
M2 general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brad Davies (Aus)6:58:01 
2Shaun Portegys (NZl)0:22:58 
3Carl Maroney (Aus)1:07:56 
4Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20111:35:27 
5Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc1:40:41 
6Markus Frey (Swi)1:49:12 
7Marc Baechli (Swi)1:54:50 
8Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux)2:18:17 
9Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos2:46:18 
10Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos2:46:27 
11Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos2:46:28 
12Thomas Holmberg (Den)2:50:55 
13John Boswell (Aus)2:55:18 
14Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel)2:56:43 
15Gianni Banterla (Ita)3:57:08 
16Blair King (NZl)4:15:23 
17Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 24:23:29 
18Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture10:49:12 
M3 general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team8:50:42 
2Dennis Bowen-Day (Aus)0:24:57 
3Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)0:52:33 
4Andreas Wittmann (Ger)1:04:04 
5Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut)1:14:29 
6Ronny Potter (Bel) Ronny Potter2:32:41 
7Greg Parr (Aus) kickass3:37:54 
Tandem general classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel)9:46:53 
2Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia1:11:30 
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