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Brentjens takes 3-man sprint for stage victory

Today the race leaders beat the seventh day itch: on the stage from Mt Mulgrave to Laura, which was marked with heat, wind, dust and river crossings, Bart Brentjens claimed stage win number three. The Dutch rider decided the sprint against Switzerland's Urs Huber and Austrian Philipp Ludescher. Heroic was the performance of the Carinthian rider Christoph Sokoll: he finished despite a possible broken collarbone.

Three of the eight riders, who arrived with muddy faces and a good 20 minute lead on the chaser group at the aboriginal settlement of Laura, had known since the early morning hours what was ahead of them: both Urs Huber, who leads the overall ranking by 4:19 and chaser Bart Brentjens, as well as current third Mike Mulkens knew the 151km long stage from last year. The conclusions that they drew from having a head start in terms of knowing the track, however, were completely different.

Whilst Mike Mulkens attacked right at the beginning, Huber and Brentjens tried to preserve their energy whilst riding along the endlessly long and dusty roads, which where riddled with river crossings. In the end, the tactics of the two leaders were more effective.

"I kicked off the sprint a little bit too early and was quite tired also from the strong headwind and from riding ahead of the group for quite a while," said Bart Brentjens.

After a time of 4:53:56 the strength of the previous World and Olympic champion was still sufficient to claim the stage win. Urs Huber would have loved to do the same, but the attack of the Swiss rider came a little too late. However, overall the current race leader was quite happy with his second place coming in just one second behind the winner.

"So close, again!" said a disappointed Philipp Ludescher, who rolled across the finish line right after Huber. Because his prospects in the overall rankings are slim due to mechanical failures earlier in the race, he wants nothing more than a stage win. "I messed up the sandy corner before the finish straight and was hanging onto the wrong wheel," said the youngest participant at this year's Crocodile Trophy.

"It's a shame. I felt strong and really thought that I could make it," said an equally disappointed Mike Mulkens. After his early attack the 30-year old Belgian rider was caught at kilometre 100 by eight riders. In the final sprint a crash spoilt his lead position, which he had claimed about three kilometres before the finish line.

Suspense around the leaders' jerseys

A broken seatpost clamp cost Jaan Kirsipuu (M2) from Estonia precious minutes in the overall masters classification. "The leader jersey is the least of my worries," said Kirsipuu. "I'm more preoccupied how I will get the saddle fixed for tomorrow and well enough so that it doesn't constantly shift from side to side."

Once again the two resourceful Croc-Trophy mechanics Micha and Garrett will face a few challenges, already having their hands full with bikes that have been put through dusty and muddy alternating baths by their owners.

A thankful recipient of the leader's jersey would have been Cristof Mariën (M1), who continued riding the last 20km in the leading group despite a flat tire. The attack of the Belgian rider, however, was aimed at his own age group, which he currently heads up. From Jaan Kirsipuu he is still 40 minutes away.

A bit of excitement was also happening around the women's leader jersey: Abby McLennan's team was involved in a crash. Even though the Australian got away without any harm, her husband and fellow team rider Scott fell back with a mechanical and later suffered circulatory problems and arrived at Laura with a fairly long delay.

And another rider almost didn't reach the finish at the outset of the Cape York peninsula on his bike. The Austrian rider Christoph Sokoll participated in an early attack and crashed badly at a muddy river crossing. After medical care and under the watchful eyes of the marshals in the sweeper car, the 24-year old fought his 135km long remaining way back to the finish, despite a possible broken collarbone.

First Australian across the line and in today's top 10 was Hans Dielacher (M3), coming through in 5:15:17. Dielacher said of the stage, "It was so hot and hard. I'm really pleased with my progress so far, I wanted to get on the podium in my category and I'm really happy with where I am."

Tuesday's stage thrusts riders eastward against roads of corrugation and holes filled with bull dust and sand while they constantly fight a strong headwind for the entire 142km to Cooktown.

1Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek Brentjens4:53:56
2Urs Huber (Swi)0:00:01
3Philipp Ludescher (Aut) McSabutage
4Cory Wallace (Can)0:00:09
5Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:00:31
6Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike0:00:50
7Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:01:04
8Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen0:24:23
9Réne Haselbacher (Aut) McSabutage0:25:18
10Paul Ensink (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre0:37:29
11Matthijs Pot (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre
12Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain0:37:30
13James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail0:50:42
14Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team0:54:20
15Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain1:20:08
16Vinne Los (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre1:47:54
17Christoph Sokoll (Aut)3:10:59
DNFHamish Taylor (Aus) Fraser and Mountain

1Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum6:14:42
2Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear1:33:30
3Lesley Sutton (Aus)1:33:41
4Nancy Caceres (Aus)1:35:05
5Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear2:00:24
6Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear2:12:00

1Christof Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium14:55:00
2Raf De Bakker (Bel)0:20:17
3Rolf Stebler (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers0:49:24
4Roli Zehnder (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers0:49:40
5Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution0:52:07
6Peter Clayton (Aus)0:53:06
7Sjoerd Tilstra (Ned)0:56:56
8Bert Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles0:57:03
9Mark van Harmelen (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles0:57:20
10Cas Brentjens (Ned) Cannasia - Cannondale1:05:42
11Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik1:07:13
12Martin Wisata (Aut) Rocky Trail Entertainment1:10:08
13Sven Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium11:15:13
14Michel Haenggi (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers1:15:42
15Brendon Skerke (Aus) Rattle N Hum1:19:42
16Rutger van Herpen (Ned)1:31:26
17Struan Lamont (Aus) Struan Lamont4:01:42
DNFPatric Wiedmer (Swi) Boomerang Reisen
DNFDavid Wood AUD
DNFNathan Sandford AUD

1Johan Wekeman (Ned) BikeLife Roden5:18:42
2Kurt Alderweireldt (Bel)0:00:02
3Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:00:31
4Indrek Kelk (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:00:33
5Hans Mertens (Bel) Crocteam Belgium20:22:01
6Lieven Van Poeck (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team0:28:29
7Julius Vincze (Aut)0:28:33
8Luuk Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles0:33:17
9Darren Withers (Aus)0:33:19
10Guido Vangertruyden (Bel)0:36:40
11Marc Withofs (Bel) Crocteam Belgium21:00:41
12Michael Foreman (Aus) MIG1:23:07
13Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum
14Rob Wijnbergen (Ned)1:23:08

1Hans Dielacher (Aus)5:15:17
2Hans Post (Ned) Dutch Chicken0:18:49
3Hein Lansbergen (Ned) Dutch Chicken0:37:41
4Leon van den Schoor (Ned)0:45:25
5Joachim Oberföll (Ger)0:46:56
6Roger Cull (Aus) Team Yeti-GU0:59:10
7Sjaak Etten (Ned) Dutch Chicken1:00:56
8Harry Beutetrading (Ned) BikeLife Roden1:07:21
9Rudi Stroobants (Bel) Crocteam Belgium1
10Greg Parr (NZl) MIG1:26:32
11Ivan Whittle (Aus) MIG2:32:55
DNFWeit Heuker (Ned) BikeLife Roden

1Klaus Sever (Aut)8:04:56
DNFUdo Huber (Aut)

General classification after stage 7

Men general classification
1Urs Huber (Swi)23:25:10
2Bart Brentjens (Ned) Trek Brentjens0:04:22
3Mike Mulkens (Bel)0:34:05
4Allan Oras (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:59:04
5Cory Wallace (Can)1:25:38
6Christoph Tschellnig (Aut) morethanbike1:56:56
7Taigh Banson (Aus) Fraser and Mountain2:19:22
8Peter Van Mill (Ned) Jef Abels Bikes Gulpen2:32:44
9Philipp Ludescher (Aut) McSabutage2:41:16
10Matthijs Pot (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre2:49:14
11Réne Haselbacher (Aut) McSabutage2:49:22
12Paul Ensink (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre4:29:21
13Marc Locherer (Aus) Fraser and Mountain5:21:16
14James Lamb (Aus) SVC Imports / Rocky Trail5:22:42
15Christoph Sokoll (Aut)6:30:39
16Vinne Los (Ned) Bike One Team Lapierre7:24:43
17Bart Verberckmoes (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team7:50:32

Women general classification
1Abby McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum30:36:32
2Lauretta Howarth (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear6:10:53
3Nancy Caceres (Aus)6:54:24
4Lesley Sutton (Aus)8:15:52
5Sharman Parr (NZl) SheSpoke Cycle Wear9:31:28
6Maree Roberts (Aus) SheSpoke Cycle Wear10:02:24

M1 general classification
1Christof Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium125:35:11
2Raf De Bakker (Bel)0:21:51
3Roli Zehnder (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers1:34:43
4Franz Preihs (Aut) Radsport Kotnik2:25:12
5Matthias Schwarze (Ger) The Fitzroy Revolution3:05:14
6Rolf Stebler (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers3:09:56
7Mark van Harmelen (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles4:22:41
8Bert Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles4:40:52
9Sven Mariën (Bel) Crocteam Belgium14:50:04
10Martin Wisata (Aut) Rocky Trail Entertainment4:56:03
11Michel Haenggi (Swi) Swiss Bike Brothers4:56:46
12Sjoerd Tilstra (Ned)5:00:36
13Brendon Skerke (Aus) Rattle N Hum5:11:14
14Rutger van Herpen (Ned)5:37:59
15Cas Brentjens (Ned) Cannasia - Cannondale5:53:19
16Peter Clayton (Aus)7:04:48
17Struan Lamont (Aus) Struan Lamont8:57:00

M2 general classification
1Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Rietumu-Delfin25:12:31
2Indrek Kelk (Est) Rietumu-Delfin0:36:51
3Kurt Alderweireldt (Bel)2:48:50
4Hans Mertens (Bel) Crocteam Belgium22:54:59
5Johan Wekeman (Ned) BikeLife Roden3:01:11
6Lieven Van Poeck (Bel) RESIBIKE Cycling Team4:02:04
7Julius Vincze (Aut)4:30:56
8Guido Vangertruyden (Bel)4:36:11
9Luuk Belga (Ned) Belga Fietsen Crocodiles4:47:31
10Darren Withers (Aus)5:44:50
11Scott McLennan (Aus) Rattle N Hum5:51:14
12Marc Withofs (Bel) Crocteam Belgium27:05:35
13Rob Wijnbergen (Ned)7:22:46
14Michael Foreman (Aus) MIG9:36:04

M3 general classification
1Hans Dielacher (Aus)25:49:28
2Roger Cull (Aus) Team Yeti-GU1:54:54
3Hans Post (Ned) Dutch Chicken2:33:58
4Leon van den Schoor (Ned)4:00:08
5Joachim Oberföll (Ger)4:50:11
6Sjaak Etten (Ned) Dutch Chicken6:09:23
7Greg Parr (NZl) MIG6:39:08
8Rudi Stroobants (Bel) Crocteam Belgium16:46:57
9Harry Beutetrading (Ned) BikeLife Roden7:08:10
10Hein Lansbergen (Ned) Dutch Chicken7:23:05
11Ivan Whittle (Aus) MIG10:01:23

E-bike general classification
1Klaus Sever (Aut)38:59:25

Teams general classification
2Bike One Team Lapierre9:32:21
3Swiss Bike Brothers11:00:31
4Crocteam Belgium113:10:24
5Belga Fietsen Crocodiles14:47:30
6Rattle N Hum17:00:15
7Dutch Chicken18:08:23
9SheSpoke Cycle Wear42:27:54

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