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Crocodile Trophy 2011

Date range:
October 18-27, 2011

October 26, Stage 9: Kalpowar - Munburra 148km

Boelen dominates sandy stage 9

By:
Cycling News
Published:
October 26, 2011, 14:28 BST,
Updated:
October 26, 2011, 16:42 BST

Defending champion Huber withdraws due to illness

Jeroen Boelen (Milka-Trek) on his way to winning the stage

Jeroen Boelen (Milka-Trek) on his way to winning the stage

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Stage 9 wasn't the longest, but it was the technically hardest stage of the Crocodile Trophy. Race leader Jeroen Boelen (Milka-Trek) dominated the day and finished 10 minutes ahead of his nearest challengers. Riding through sand is a specialty of its own, and Boelen mastered it perfectly. Barring any unexpected incidents, he will race to an overall win tomorrow in Cooktown.

Boelen's number one challenger, Urs Huber, who won the past two editions of the race, did not start the day due to illness. The Crocodile Trophy also almost lost its Laura stage winner Christoph Sokoll, who crashed early in the stage.

In preparation for the 7:00 am start, the tent camp was up at 5:00 am to the bad news that number two in the GC, Huber, would not start. He came down with a fever on the eve of the ninth stage. He'd already had a rough stage 8, during which he suffered a bleeding nose for most of the second half.

Huber, who put in a Fabian Cancellara-like performance yesterday, was sitting seven minutes off race leader Boelen and was the last threat to the lead. Stage 9 from Kalpowar to Starke had potential to mix up the classification. Sand, sand and more sand awaited the riders. To make it even more challenging, the terrain was constantly up and down and while there were no big climbs, there were no flat meters either.

In the places where there was no sand, there were deep and tricky wheel ruts. It was one such rut that caused Australian Mark Griffin to crash. Korean Ki Joon Kim, Belgian Jan Verboven and the last two stage winners Huub Duyn and Sokoll fell on top of him.

The other 17 riders in their group waited for them, but Sokoll preferred to let them go on. After 30km, the race doctor diagnosed a rib contusion. Sokoll went further, at his own pace, not bothering about his lost sixth place at the GC.

"Maybe I also broke a right finger, but I want to finish this race. Last year I suffered more. I will arrive in Cooktown. That GC is not important any more. I won a stage. My Crocodile Trophy is already a success," said Sokoll.

The 17-man group was not initially the lead group because almost immediately afer the start - in the middle of the Normanby River crossing, René Haselbacher attacked. "Hasi" had attacked every day, but with his lack of basic condition, he never endured until the end.

Perpetual attacker Kevin Hulsmans went with him as well as the Australian riders Brad Davies and Ashley Hayat.

The four leaders got seven minutes. Boelen pulled towards the front of the chasing group, which then lost yesterday's stage winner Huub Duyn with a broken derailleur. When the real sand misery started, the front group was no front group any more, but four individuals.

One by one they were eaten up by Jeroen Boelen. "I did not really attack," said Duyn. "I just wanted to ride in the front on those difficult sections, and apparently I am better than the others in this special kind of terrain. Where I live, there is a lot of sand, so I am used to this."

The last rider to resist Boelen was Hulsmans, but not for long. "At the second of four feed zones, I only found one drink bottle," said Hulsmans. "In this heat, I was completely lost. I started sitting on the ground and just waited for Huub Duyn. Honestly I would have been good, but probably not good enough to beat Boelen."

Hulsmans had to wait a long time for his teammate Duyn as the Dutch rider struggled with his shoe cleats and crashed some five times and broke his chain, too. Probably none of the riders did not crash on the hard sections through Melville National Park.

Doris Ermens, crashed hard onto her tail bone but finished the race. The Belgian woman and her husband Lieven Straetmans are still leading in the tandem category.

Behind Boelen, there was no organization among riders, but that would have been impossible anyway. One rider went through the sand, another failed to do so, a third one went through the bush on the left side of the course, another one on the right side. The complete Crocodile Trophy peloton was just a group of individuals. Everyone was struggling for his own position, but most of all struggling to stay upright. Some riders had no experience with that rough surface and suffered. Others neither had experience nor managed to do it very well as Sydney rider Graeme Arnott explained. "I soon found out that when you pedal easily through the sand, you let your bike do the work instead of the legs and it gets easy. I was surprised I did it so well. I appeared to be the best rider behind Boelen."

Arnott, the leader in the masters 1 category (the 30-and-over-year-old riders) would indeed finish the race in second position. "I think I was helped by the absence of Urs Huber. Had there been a fight between Huber and Boelen from the beginning, we would have seen a completely different and much harder race. But I'm not complaining. Second in the queen stage, not bad for just a weekend rider."

On the course, that hadn't been ridden in the Crocodile Trophy for 10 years, there was only one climb and thus one descent. The steepest descent seemed to be made for Korean kamikaze Geeni Yong Choi. He went twice as hard as the others and came closer and closer to the front. In the end, Arnott had to hurry to preserve his second place.

"This was un unbelievable stage," said Choi. "I know that a lot of Koreans are following me on the internet. They will be proud of my podium place today, just as I am."

Austrians Wolfgang Krenn and Josef Benedseder finished fourth and fifth and secured their overall podium places as the number four, Belgian Mulkens, lost about an hour today.

"Already early in the stage, I had mechanical problems. First I thought it was an unwilling chain, but then I saw that there was something wrong with the hub of my rear wheel. As I am no technician, I had to wait at a feed zone for help. Fortunately some guys from the Netherlands, from the Silvis en Vos Team, could help me with a screwdriver and a stone, used as a hammer," said Mulkens.

"Afterwards I caught a lot of riders. Sand is my playground. This is easy for me. My podium is gone, but I have a nice Crocodile Trophy and I still won't give up on winning a stage. Tomorrow is my last chance. I will go for it for my girlfriend who is in hospital right now."

Behind the Austrians, the surprising Gert Maes was beaten in a two-up sprint by the even more surprising Swiss rider Marc Baechli. Baechli is 41, has lived in Brisbane for two years and had attracted riders' attention by his strange upright position on the bike. "As I suffer from a herniated disc, I started mountain biking three years ago. Since then, I have no pain any more in my back and right leg. Mountain biking is my way of dealing with my disease. I may not complain. In the three hardest stages of this stage race, I was the first master 2 (40+) rider."

Tomorrow's last and shortest stage goes from Starke to Cooktown. The town, which was Captain Cook's first landing place in 1777, will welcome all riders after a week of suffering and adventure and with Boelen as the 17th overall winner.

Full Results

Men stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek 5:25:43  
2 Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea 0:07:30  
3 Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) 0:10:44  
4 Josef Benedseder (Aut)    
5 Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 0:29:52  
6 Bruno Naessens (Bel) 0:36:22  
7 Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team 0:59:52  
8 Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 1:09:49  
9 Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 1:10:32  
10 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 1:11:29  
12 Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel) 1:36:19  
11 Sam Van De Gucht (Bel) 1:36:38  
13 Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution 1:36:40  
14 Chris Hellman (Aus) 1:49:12  
15 Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team 3:11:49  
16 Christoph Sokoll (Aut) 3:11:56  
17 Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 3:54:28  
Women stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jessica Douglas (Aus) 6:51:57  
2 Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass 2:38:31  
Masters 1 stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 5:32:53  
2 Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 0:06:43  
3 Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 0:09:28  
4 Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail 0:15:37  
5 René Haselbacher (Aut) 0:22:48  
6 Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc 0:33:45  
7 Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 0:54:31  
8 Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution 1:02:39  
9 Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 1:02:58  
10 Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution 1:10:11  
11 Michal Lanik (Cze) 1:16:17  
12 Steve Petre (Aus) 1:28:21  
13 Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea 1:47:53  
14 Peter Roelens (Bel) 1:54:55  
16 Frederic Starck (Bel) 2:09:30  
15 Laurent Tesch (Bel) 2:09:38  
17 Michael Taylor (Aus) 2:23:21  
18 Werner Van Vuuren (Aus) 2:28:07  
19 Dirk Hörnig (Ger) 2:55:38  
20 Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita) 2:59:02  
21 Andreas Buchegger (Aut) 3:00:05  
22 Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 3:04:47  
23 Christophe Demeyere (Bel) 4:03:14  
Masters 2 stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Marc Baechli (Swi) 5:39:36  
2 Brad Davies (Aus) 0:12:59  
3 Carl Maroney (Aus) 0:23:53  
4 Shaun Portegys (NZl) 0:46:41  
5 Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc 0:54:10  
6 Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 0:57:34  
7 Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 2 1:08:37  
8 Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos 1:13:55  
9 Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos 1:39:12  
10 Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos    
11 Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel) 2:02:55  
12 Thomas Holmberg (Den) 2:09:22  
13 Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux) 2:15:27  
14 Blair King (NZl) 2:22:35  
15 Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture 2:50:21  
16 Gianni Banterla (Ita) 2:52:19  
17 John Boswell (Aus) 3:06:44  
Masters 3 stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team 7:13:21  
2 Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut) 0:18:05  
3 Andreas Wittmann (Ger) 1:31:09  
4 Andrew Radcliffe (Aus) 1:31:10  
5 Greg Parr (Aus) kickass 2:17:07  
Tandem stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel) 7:30:59  
2 Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia 0:51:50  
Points stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek 20  pts
2 Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 15  
3 Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea 10  
4 Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) 5  
5 Josef Benedseder (Aut) 2  
Men general classification after stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek 32:01:37  
2 Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) 0:55:48  
3 Josef Benedseder (Aut) 1:04:34  
4 Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea 1:59:42  
5 Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team 2:00:01  
6 Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 2:56:56  
7 Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 3:35:53  
8 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 3:38:31  
9 Ondrej Slezak (Cze) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 3:51:27  
10 Christoph Sokoll (Aut) 4:31:59  
11 Bruno Naessens (Bel) 4:40:41  
12 Samuel McGregor (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution 5:48:08  
13 Sam Van De Gucht (Bel) 8:40:10  
14 Sander Van Schuerbeeck (Bel) 8:40:27  
15 Chris Hellman (Aus) 9:20:55  
16 Roeland Suys (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team 9:41:48  
17 Bram Donckers (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 20:37:18  
Women general classification after stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jessica Douglas (Aus) 39:57:59  
2 Sharman Parr (NZl) kickass 16:29:16  
Masters 1 general classification after stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 33:52:10  
2 Mark Griffin (Aus) Ashfield Cycles & Rockytrail 0:30:10  
3 Jan Verboven (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 0:37:40  
4 Gert Maes (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 1:42:39  
5 Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution 1:58:00  
6 Mike Blewitt (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 2:08:33  
7 René Haselbacher (Aut) 2:33:13  
8 Michal Lanik (Cze) 2:53:14  
9 Steve Petre (Aus) 4:39:20  
10 Michal Kafka (Aus) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 4:47:34  
11 Tim Schepens (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc 4:59:26  
12 Ki Joong Kim (Kor) Team Korea 6:50:58  
13 Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution 6:53:33  
14 Peter Roelens (Bel) 8:12:48  
15 Martin Wisata (Aut) Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 9:40:47  
16 Werner Van Vuuren (Aus) 11:02:10  
17 Frederic Starck (Bel) 11:15:15  
18 Laurent Tesch (Bel) 11:15:26  
19 Michael Taylor (Aus) 12:03:12  
20 Andreas Buchegger (Aut) 13:12:18  
21 Dirk Hörnig (Ger) 13:41:02  
22 Nicola Gianfranceschi (Ita) 18:26:29  
23 Christophe Demeyere (Bel) 18:31:36  
Masters 2 general classification after stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Brad Davies (Aus) 34:54:47  
2 Shaun Portegys (NZl) 1:03:35  
3 Marc Baechli (Swi) 1:17:40  
4 Carl Maroney (Aus) 1:52:18  
5 Patrick Mensch (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 4:41:31  
6 Baelen Guy Van (Bel) Den Outback 4bikes croc 4:46:46  
7 Johan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos 7:15:55  
8 Christiaan Van Splunter (Ned) Silvis en Vos 7:15:57  
9 Aloyse Albert Schartz (Lux) 7:52:21  
10 Jeroen Tiebie (Ned) Silvis en Vos 8:22:33  
11 Thomas Holmberg (Den) 8:39:28  
12 Stéphane Maitrejean (Bel) 10:12:45  
13 Rien Montsma (Ned) Silvis en Vos 2 12:45:42  
14 Blair King (NZl) 14:13:47  
15 John Boswell (Aus) 16:09:22  
16 Gianni Banterla (Ita) 17:08:03  
17 Andrew Chafer (USA) Team Van Be Venture 32:14:02  
Masters 3 general classification after stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Pio Tomasetig (Ita) Danieli Team 41:18:01  
2 Gerhard Grasmugg (Aut) 3:33:31  
3 Andrew Radcliffe (Aus) 5:28:31  
4 Andreas Wittmann (Ger) 5:54:42  
5 Greg Parr (Aus) kickass 13:28:28  
Tandem general classification after stage 9
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Doris Ermens & Lieven Straetmans (Bel) 42:41:53  
2 Daniele Modolo & Sebastian Favaro (Ita) Il Tandem Italia 4:09:33  
Points classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jeroen Boelen (Ned) Milka-Trek 125  pts
2 Josef Benedseder (Aut) 47  
3 Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) 44  
4 Mike Mulkens (Bel) Kipeo MTB Team 22  
4 Huub Duyn (Bel) Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 22  
6 Christoph Sokoll (Aut) 20  
7 Arnott Graeme (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 15  
8 Justin Morris (Aus) Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 12  
8 Geeni Yong Choi (Kor) Team Korea 12  
10 Wolfgang Krenn (Aut) 5  
11 Ashley Hayat (Aus) The Fitzroy Revolution 2  
Teams classification
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Subaru/MarathonMTB.com 104:51:26  
2 Den Outback 4bikes croc team 2011 4:49:31  
3 The Fitzroy Revolution 9:34:12  
4 Bernard Rocky Trail Racing 13:14:19  
5 Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 19:05:07  
6 Silvis en Vos 22:47:20