Boelen sprints to victory at end of tactical stage

Huber retains overall lead

Belgium's Mike Mulkens was the hero of the day, but in the end he was left with empty hands. The Crocodile Trophy stage 4 victory in Irvinebank - after a short but fast stage - was claimed by Jeroen Boelen from the Netherlands. He outsprinted Wolfgang Krenn, race leader Urs Huber and Josef Benedseder.

Huber successfully defended his leader's jersey. For Jeroen Boelen (Team Milka-Trek) today was his first big international mountain bike victory. Earlier this year, he won three road and three mountain bike races.

Other dominant racers today included road professional Kevin Hulsmans and the retired René Haselbacher. Boelen and Hulsmans know each other very well from their under 23 times when they both raced together at the road world championships in Verona in 1999.

Boelen did not react when immediately after the start Hulsmans attacked. Or rather tried to attack, because he attempted to break away two, three times in a row, but race leader Huber did not let it happen and kept riding strongly.

When Austrian René Haselbacher then saw a chance, he initiated an attack and his compatriot Krenn and Mulkens went with him, without any counter attack from Huber. This was surprising, as Krenn and Mulkens were a potential danger for his red leader's jersey.

Krenn said that he decided to let the others go and dropped back. "It was better this way, and I felt really strong today," said Krenn after the stage. "I always prefer to save my energy for the finale of a race. I reckon, tomorrow will be my day."

Mulkens and Haselbacher continued their efforts and were gone. And that was the line up for most of the race - they still had 70km ahead of them until the finish.

The stage was not a technically difficult one. The climbs were steep but short. And it didn't rain any more. The fact that the stage was a three times around a 27-kilometer lap kind of a race made it all very tactical. All riders could exactly judge where to attack, where to hide against the wind, etc.

"On the long sections, we could see Mulkens and Haselbacher ahead of us, and we observed that Mulkens had to slow down uphill for his companion. That's why we never panicked," said stage winner Boelen. "We speculated that Mulkens would never be able to stay in the front alone against the rest and most of the time fighting against the wind."

"I did my best," said Haselbacher. "In 2011, I was only on my bike 20 or 30 times. So, I may not complain. Moreover, I will get better every day. I am here to enjoy cycling. I have to be honest, I've missed cycling since I retired last year. This is fun for me. Oh yes, also when we have to ride in the rain and sleep in wet tents. This adventure, and believe me, is much better than riding for 200km in a Flemish Classic in the rain. Here the rain is not cold, you don't even need a rain jacket."

Haselbacher helped Mulkens, number 4 in the GC at 21:49 minutes after Huber, as much as he could, especially on the flat parts, but they were never able to gain more than three minutes. The cohesion in the chasing group of 16 was not optimal either. Besides the top 10 of the GC (Huber, Boelen, Krenn, Benedseder, Sokoll, Hulsmans, Davies, Morris and Duijn), the group also contained Graeme, Griffin, Park, Choi, Slezak, McGregor, Baeckli, Blewitt, Portegys, Maes and Verboven. For Maes, McGregor, Baeckli and Portegys (with mechanical problems), it all went too fast very quickly.

With fewer riders in the chasing group, the chase went better. Halfway through the race, Mulkens and Haselbacher still had 1:40 on the group. On the one steep climb at Earwackers Creek, Huber accelerated. Only Boelen, Krenn, Benedseder and the Donckers teammates Hulsmans and Duijn were able to follow. It was now two leaders against six chasers.

With 25km to go, the gap was down to 50 seconds, but then the chasers couldn't let go of each other and the gap became two minutes again. That's when Hulsmans decided to counterattack, even against the wind. His goal was to ride to "Iron Mike" Mulkens who had dropped Haselbacher in the meantime. He was able to get within 45 seconds of Mulkens and then cracked. Hulsmans had tried, but lost. Mulkens was extremely strong.

"Mulkens lives in my neighbourhood in Belgium," said Hulsmans. "When we leave for a training ride, he rides with us. We on a race bike, he on a mountain bike, and we always need to tell him to go slower. Strong guy."

But in the end, Mulkens was not strong enough any more. At 4km to go mark, the chasers caught him. The two-time third place overall finisher of the Crocodile Trophy is in his third year of competing in this event and still seeking a stage victory.

The attack of Huber on the third and last climb of Earwackers Creek was too much for the Flemish rider. Huber tried to finish alone, but Boelen, Krenn and Benedseder kept on his wheel. Duijn was dropped, tried to come back on the descent, but a derailleur problem prevented him from doing so. Four riders sprinted to the finish, and Boelen was the fastest. Krenn finished second, Huber third.

"Before the race my team owner Bart Brentjens had briefed me that I would always be able to win a the sprint against Huber, but I had no idea about the sprinting skills of Krenn," said Boelen. "First Benedseder misjudged the last corner, and then I passed Krenn and I won. I am very happy. This is also a victory for Bart Brentjens who should have been here."

Tomorrow's fifth stage will get the Croc Trophy camp back on track with the original race plan. The racers have 105km and 1100m of elevation ahead of them.

Use this on all articles. The player is narrow enough to fit next to the article gallery images box on the right.

Full Results

Men stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek2:34:38 
2Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:00:01 
3Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team  
4Josef Benedseder (Aut)0:00:05 
5Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:00:15 
6Christoph Sokoll (Aut)0:00:44 
7Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team  
8Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:03:47 
9Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:04:07 
10Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea0:07:09 
11Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:08:13 
12Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution0:16:34 
13Chang Min Park (Kor) Team Korea0:17:54 
14Bruno Naessens (Bel)0:18:30 
15Sam Van De Gucht (Bel)0:29:15 
16Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel)  
17Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team0:32:32 
18Chris Hellman (Aus)0:36:47 
19Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 11:06:10 
Women stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Douglas (Aus)3:04:32 
2Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass1:19:29 
Handcycle stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Patrik Doak (USA) Team Van Be Venture6:38:05 
1Carlos Moleda (USA) Team Van Be Venture  
M1 stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1René Haselbacher (Aut)2:40:09 
2Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail0:01:38 
3Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:02:03 
4Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:02:44 
5Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:09:16 
6Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:12:23 
7Michal Lanik (Cze)  
8Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution0:12:56 
9Steve Petre (Aus)0:13:03 
10Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:16:19 
11Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea0:23:51 
12Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc0:23:57 
13Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution0:24:21 
14Frederic Starck (Bel)0:30:36 
15Laurent Tesch (Bel)0:30:37 
16Werner Van Vuuren (Aus)0:31:08 
17Peter Roelens (Bel)0:37:24 
18Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:39:43 
19Andreas Buchegger (Aut)0:41:38 
20Dirk Hörnig (Ger)0:46:30 
21Michael Taylor (Aus)0:53:09 
22Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita)1:10:20 
23Christophe Demeyere (Bel)1:11:50 
M2 stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brad Davies (Aus)2:38:45 
2Marc Baechli (Swi)0:12:28 
3Shaun Portegys (NZl)0:13:51 
4Carl Maroney (Aus)0:14:27 
5Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:25:21 
6Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc0:26:42 
7Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel)0:32:02 
8Thomas Holmberg (Den)  
9Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux)  
10Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos0:32:47 
11Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos0:32:48 
12Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos  
13John Boswell (Aus)0:44:07 
14Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 20:55:00 
15Gianni Banterla (Ita)0:56:03 
16Blair King (NZl)1:05:43 
17Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture3:59:20 
1Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team3:12:58 
2Greg Parr (Aus) kickass0:20:22 
3Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut)0:20:42 
4Dennis Bowen-Day (Aus)0:20:49 
5Andreas Wittmann (Ger)0:21:54 
6Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)0:21:55 
7Ronny Potter (Bel) Ronny Potter0:56:47 
Tandem stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel)3:24:55 
2Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia0:04:02 
Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek20 pts
2Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)15 
3Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team10 
4Josef Benedseder (Aut)5 
5Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 12 
Men general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team8:57:31 
2Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek0:04:00 
3Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:17:24 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team0:22:37 
5Josef Benedseder (Aut)0:23:16 
6Christoph Sokoll (Aut)0:34:06 
7Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:37:33 
8Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:39:39 
9Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:42:04 
10Chang Min Park (Kor) Team Korea1:08:01 
11Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea1:11:12 
12Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution1:27:02 
13Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing1:27:27 
14Bruno Naessens (Bel)1:53:45 
15Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team2:26:21 
16Sam Van De Gucht (Bel)2:48:08 
17Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel)  
18Chris Hellman (Aus)3:02:13 
19Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 15:40:13 
Women general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Douglas (Aus)11:22:28 
2Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass5:30:09 
Handcycle general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Patrik Doak (USA) Team Van Be Venture25:34:48 
1Carlos Moleda (USA) Team Van Be Venture  
M1 general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com9:50:01 
2Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail0:00:59 
3Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution0:06:56 
4Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:21:08 
5Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:28:06 
6Michal Lanik (Cze)0:34:45 
7René Haselbacher (Aut)0:40:25 
8Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing1:12:35 
9Steve Petre (Aus)1:17:05 
10Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution1:19:47 
11Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20111:20:58 
12Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc1:48:50 
13Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea1:58:19 
14Werner Van Vuuren (Aus)2:04:44 
15Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing2:09:03 
16Peter Roelens (Bel)2:22:39 
17Andreas Buchegger (Aut)3:03:41 
18Frederic Starck (Bel)3:15:31 
19Laurent Tesch (Bel)3:15:33 
20Michael Taylor (Aus)3:24:16 
21Dirk Hörnig (Ger)4:29:27 
22Christophe Demeyere (Bel)4:44:33 
23Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita)4:55:36 
M2 general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brad Davies (Aus)9:36:46 
2Shaun Portegys (NZl)0:36:49 
3Carl Maroney (Aus)1:22:23 
4Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20112:00:48 
5Marc Baechli (Swi)2:07:18 
6Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc2:07:23 
7Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux)2:50:19 
8Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos3:19:05 
9Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos3:19:15 
10Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos3:19:16 
11Thomas Holmberg (Den)3:22:57 
12Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel)3:28:45 
13John Boswell (Aus)3:39:25 
14Gianni Banterla (Ita)4:53:11 
15Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 25:18:29 
16Blair King (NZl)5:21:06 
17Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture15:58:02 
M3 general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team12:03:40 
2Dennis Bowen-Day (Aus)0:45:46 
3Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)1:14:28 
4Andreas Wittmann (Ger)1:25:58 
5Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut)1:35:11 
6Ronny Potter (Bel) Ronny Potter3:29:28 
7Greg Parr (Aus) kickass3:58:16 
Tandem general classification after stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel)13:11:48 
2Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia1:15:32 
Points classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team50 pts
2Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek50 
3Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)27 
4Josef Benedseder (Aut)15 
5Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team10 
6Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com2 
6Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 12 
Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Subaru/MarathonMTB.com29:47:43 
2The Fitzroy Revolution1:43:35 
3Team Korea2:14:52 
4Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20113:11:59 
5Bernard Rocky Trail Racing3:38:55 
6Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 14:02:15 
7Silvis en Vos9:00:11 
Back to top