Boelen breaks Huber to take stage 6

Dutchman heads overall after latest win

Race leader Urs Huber was ready to win his third consecutive Crocodile Trophy. He only needed to follow his number one competitor Jeroen Boelen, but in the 189km marathon stage, Huber broke. Like most of the riders today, Huber punctured, but he also ran out of energy in the hot outback of Queensland. In the end, Jeroen Boelen (Milka-Trek) won the stage to Mt Mulgrave and took the leader's jersey from the Swiss champion.

Some of the vehicles with drinks and energy gels had gotten stuck in the Mitchell river and needed to be pulled across by others. It was a stage full of unexpected challenges and turns of events for all.

"This is cycling. This kind of riding makes my day," said Austrian René Haselbacher after his ride through the desert. "This here is like the feeling you have when you finish Paris-Roubaix. If you asked me now, I would consider starting to race again." The retired road professional said all that even after having flatted when he was riding in the lead.

Not all riders shared Hasi's opinion in the finish. Australian Brad Davies flatted five times and lost his leader's jersey in the masters category. "What am I doing here? Where were the cars with our drinks and food?" said a furious Kevin Hulsmans.

Surprisingly strong Korean rider Geeni Yong Choi didn't stop repeating, "I never did something like this in my life." But his eyes brightened up soon again.

Some support vehicles had become stuck with a flooded engine at the deep Mitchell river, halfway through the race. The river was too deep to cross for most of them. After breakneck manoeuvres including getting them towed across the river that also carried a strong current and swapping drinks and food among them, it took them a long time to catch up to the fast lead groups.

However, for some riders the misery had started earlier already, after 15km. At the front, a group of 22 riders formed after a speedy start, among them Belgian Bruno Naessens who straight after crashed in a sandy section. Another Belgian, Jan Verboven couldn't escape the crash. With an injured left knee, Verboven started to chase and managed to come back in the front. He would later finish the stage in 11th position. Naessens' front wheel was completely buckled and he wobbled for 175km further, all alone.

As the race progressed in the hot midday heat, the front group became smaller and smaller. What contributed to this was a crash (Michal Lanik), a broken chain (Steve Petre), punctures (Brad Davies champion with five of them), sun stroke (Chang Min Park), but mainly it was because of a strong attack at the 30km mark by Austrians René Haselbacher and Josef Benedseder, as well as Belgian Kevin Hulsmans.

In the back, Jeroen Boelen - Huber's challenger for the GC and four minutes behind the Swiss rider - saw his chance at the first crossing of the Mitchell river at 50km. All riders had to walk through the river that carried a high current, but Boelen was the only one who managed to stay on the bike. And then he was gone, chasing the front trio ahead of him. Boelen succeeded to bridge the one-minute gap. The cohesion in the front was perfect. A chasing Huber didn't come closer... at least for a little while.

"But then we had to stop at a closed cattle gate," said Boelen. "Instead of climbing over it, we decided to open it, but that didn't go as expected. We lost some time and Huber was there again. This could have been my chance to take back minutes on Huber as he was alone, and I was with three others for the remaining 150 kilometers."

With Huber back, riders looking at each other and the pace slowing down, other riders returned to the front. It felt, like the race had started all over again. And it did until again Haselbacher, Hulsmans and Benedseder went away. This time, they went with Christoph Sokoll.

Hulsmans, as well as Haselbacher punctured.

With only the two Austrian teammates Sokoll-Benedseder in the front, Huber and Boelen made the race harder in the background. "I had already given up on gaining back time on Huber," said Boelen, "But I just hoped for a third stage win and Huber looked like he wanted the same."

Boelen and Huber went harder and harder. Together with Mike Mulkens, they arrived at the front, dropped Sokoll and then, suddenly, Huber had to stop, some 60km from the finish.

"I had already had a flat tyre after 15 minutes in the race," said Huber. "The whole season I had no punctures at all, and I did a lot of races. I put some air in it and the tube held and looked to hold up with the sealing liquid in my tube. After two hours, however, it lost air again. I inflated the tire again as I didn't dare to change the tube. Otherwise I would have lost the group with Boelen. In the end, however, I had to change my tube, and Jeroen was gone."

"Immediately, I thought that this was again my chance to take back some time. Of course Urs Huber would have been able to come back, but in that case he would have lost a lot of energy in the chasing job. And is it unfair? I also had two punctures earlier in the race, but I was apparently luckier."

There were no more comebacks for Huber. Boelen, in the front was strong and didn't seem to struggle with the heat."Where is that rain?" begged many riders after the finish. On the way there, Boelen dropped Mulkens, and at 10km from the finish also Benedseder.

"I tried to follow and help Jeroen Boelen as much as I could as I thought I could take the stage win, while he would be happy with the time bonus, but Jeroen was too strong. In the end I was more like a fifth wheel on the car for him," said a disappointed Benedseder. "Huber followed at a five-minute distance; I understood very well that Boelen could not wait for me."

During those last 10km, Boelen was indeed flying (31km/h on average over the 189km stage). Both Benedseder and Huber lost five extra minutes.

"With my flat tyre, I only lost two minutes, I guess," said Huber. "But the last two (of five) feed zones were not in place and that was a big problem for me as I had no bottles or sugars with me. I did not have enough energy for the last two hours of the race. It was a long way to the finish for me, but that's racing. I hope I can still get out of this situation over the next four days."

After chilling out at the creek of Mt Mulgrave Station this afternoon and the bush camping overnight, tomorrow's seventh stage goes from Mt Mulgrave to Laura. Laura is a small settlement with 80 residents, mainly aboriginals. After two days in the middle of nowhere, the race finishes again in a town, and everyone is looking forward to a small piece of civilisation.

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Full Results

Men stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek6:07:05 
2Josef Benedseder (Aut)0:06:21 
3Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team0:11:10 
4Christoph Sokoll (Aut)0:23:27 
5Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:23:28 
6Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team0:23:29 
7Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea0:26:39 
8Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 10:36:59 
9Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:40:23 
10Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:52:40 
11Bruno Naessens (Bel)1:20:59 
12Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution1:21:16 
13Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 11:21:36 
14Sam Van De Gucht (Bel)1:46:17 
15Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel)  
16Chris Hellman (Aus)2:03:20 
17Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team2:12:41 
18Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 14:25:48 
Women stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Douglas (Aus)7:41:50 
2Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass3:12:01 
Handcycle stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Patrik Doak (USA) Team Van Be Venture13:15:15 
1Carlos Moleda (USA) Team Van Be Venture  
M1 stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com6:43:34 
2Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution0:00:09 
3Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:03:52 
4Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:03:53 
5Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail  
6Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:14:29 
7Michal Lanik (Cze)0:16:11 
8René Haselbacher (Aut)0:44:46 
9Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing0:44:51 
10Steve Petre (Aus)0:51:00 
11Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc0:53:02 
12Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea1:20:53 
13Peter Roelens (Bel)1:31:15 
14Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing1:36:12 
15Dirk Hörnig (Ger)1:50:01 
16Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution2:08:50 
17Laurent Tesch (Bel)2:10:12 
18Frederic Starck (Bel)  
19Michael Taylor (Aus)2:25:34 
20Werner Van Vuuren (Aus)2:25:35 
21Andreas Buchegger (Aut)2:44:26 
22Christophe Demeyere (Bel)3:42:28 
23Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita)4:03:34 
M2 stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marc Baechli (Swi)6:55:11 
2Shaun Portegys (NZl)0:06:32 
3Carl Maroney (Aus)0:32:55 
4Brad Davies (Aus)0:41:59 
5Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:45:07 
6Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc0:46:39 
7Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos0:59:29 
8Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos  
9Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos0:59:31 
10Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux)1:07:25 
11Thomas Holmberg (Den)1:15:12 
12Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel)1:58:35 
13Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 22:10:35 
14John Boswell (Aus)2:19:27 
15Blair King (NZl)2:47:00 
16Gianni Banterla (Ita)3:51:57 
17Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture6:20:04 
M3 stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team7:57:58 
2Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut)1:04:06 
3Andreas Wittmann (Ger)1:11:09 
4Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)1:11:28 
5Greg Parr (Aus) kickass2:55:53 
Tandem stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel)8:08:14 
2Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia0:33:58 
Points stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Boelen Jeroen20 pts
4Benedseder Josef15 
2Huber Urs10 
6Krenn Wolfgang5 
3Krenn Wolfgang2 
Men general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek18:22:53 
2Urs Huber (Swi) Stöckli Pro Team0:07:25 
3Wolfgang Krenn (Aut)0:44:43 
4Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team0:49:52 
5Josef Benedseder (Aut)0:53:32 
6Christoph Sokoll (Aut)1:21:30 
7Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 11:40:35 
8Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com1:46:19 
9Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea1:51:55 
10Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 12:12:57 
11Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing2:34:12 
12Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution3:11:25 
13Bruno Naessens (Bel)3:28:52 
14Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team5:20:54 
15Sam Van De Gucht (Bel)5:39:56 
16Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel)5:39:57 
17Chris Hellman (Aus)5:55:18 
18Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 112:24:33 
Women general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jessica Douglas (Aus)23:09:35 
2Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass10:36:44 
Handcycle general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Patrik Doak (USA) Team Van Be Venture47:19:54 
1Carlos Moleda (USA) Team Van Be Venture  
M1 general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com20:05:28 
2Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail0:05:21 
3Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution0:07:04 
4Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com0:52:56 
5Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20110:57:20 
6Michal Lanik (Cze)1:00:26 
7René Haselbacher (Aut)1:34:41 
8Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20112:04:20 
9Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing2:19:16 
10Steve Petre (Aus)2:36:19 
11Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc3:45:17 
12Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea3:52:36 
13Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution4:00:43 
14Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing4:25:36 
15Peter Roelens (Bel)4:45:49 
16Werner Van Vuuren (Aus)5:28:58 
17Frederic Starck (Bel)6:10:38 
18Laurent Tesch (Bel)6:10:40 
19Michael Taylor (Aus)6:34:45 
20Andreas Buchegger (Aut)7:02:44 
21Dirk Hörnig (Ger)7:56:35 
22Christophe Demeyere (Bel)10:56:57 
23Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita)11:57:08 
M2 general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brad Davies (Aus)20:45:48 
2Shaun Portegys (NZl)0:10:02 
3Carl Maroney (Aus)1:22:50 
4Marc Baechli (Swi)1:25:49 
5Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20113:06:47 
6Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc3:15:26 
7Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos4:16:39 
8Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos4:16:45 
9Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos4:16:48 
10Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux)4:44:22 
11Thomas Holmberg (Den)4:56:54 
12Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel)5:30:15 
13John Boswell (Aus)7:38:41 
14Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 28:21:03 
15Blair King (NZl)8:50:31 
16Gianni Banterla (Ita)11:01:08 
17Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture26:34:06 
M3 general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team24:14:54 
2Andrew Radcliffe (Aus)2:28:11 
3Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut)2:46:15 
4Andreas Wittmann (Ger)2:54:23 
5Greg Parr (Aus) kickass8:40:44 
Tandem general classification after stage 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel)25:34:52 
4Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia27:50:06 
Points classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Boelen Jeroen90 pts
2Huber Urs75 
3Krenn Wolfgang34 
4Benedseder Josef30 
5Mulkens Mike20 
6Krenn Wolfgang5 
7Morris Justin2 
7Duyn Huub2 
7Hayat Ashley2 
Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Subaru/MarathonMTB.com61:13:04 
2The Fitzroy Revolution4:39:57 
3Den Outback 4bikes croc team 20115:52:07 
4Bernard Rocky Trail Racing6:39:49 
5Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 110:13:40 
6Silvis en Vos13:54:32 
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