The happiest rider at the finish of stage 8 of the Crocodile Trophy in Kalpowar on Wednesday was Dutch racer Huub Duyn. Although he had some doubts about starting the day's stage, he ended up winning it.
"It is true, I thought 'what am I doing here?' a lot and that I should really be somewhere nice with my wife in October, but now my perseverance paid off," said 27-year-old Duyn.
Duyn is usually found racing the pro road circuit and not in mountain bike stage races through the Australian Outback.
"I had no mountain bike experience at all. This race is technically not so hard, but there is the heat, today all those corrugations - I have blisters on my hands - and then after the stage, you need to put up your tents, wash your clothes yourself etc. It makes it hard, but an unforgettable adventure."
After winning Paris-Tours U23 for Rabobank Continental in 2006, Jonathan Vaughters brought Huub Duyn to his Slipstream-Chipotle team in 2007. He stayed there for three years.
"That was a perfect team for me. Vaughters had patience with me after my mononucleosis in my first and an iliac outlet syndrome in my second year. They used me for all work. I started in all classic races for them. I can climb, I can ride the whole day in the front. I know my job in cycling."
Unfortunately for Duyn, 2010, ridden with Team NetApp, was a year to forget. He was hit by a car, which left him with five facial fractures.
In 2011, he has been racing for the continental Team Jelly Bell-Donckers Koffie, and while he earned four podium spots, he had to come to Australia for his first victory of the season.
Huub's Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1 teammate in the Croc Trophy, another roadie Kevin Hulsmans, had to help convince Huub to start this morning. "This morning Huub was complaining. We told him that it was a short stage and that it would be easier on the bike than in the back of a wobbling car."
The Crocodile Trophy's famously rugged corrugations make for rough gravel road surfaces from the start in Laura to the finish in Kalpowar. Heat only made it a tougher day.