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11th Crocodile Trophy - October 18-30, 2005
Felt Dream Team diary
A couple of wins
Stage 2 - October 19: Kirkland Downs - Paluma Dam, 112 km
The dusty outback roads return, for a stage beginning in scrub and ending in the rainforest. Hard to believe!
The main snafu of the day was when David Wood took the wrong turn at the 71 kilometre point and did twelve extra kilometres with six climbing kilometres of technical mountain biking.
By the time he got to the finish twenty five minutes or thirty five minutes down off the leaders he basically realized he had made a mistake and realized that although he had lost time he had more fun than anybody else.
David, being a pure mountain biker, really enjoyed the technical sense of it and getting off the four wheel drive tracks.
As things stand our boys are really getting their legs under them and beginning to get everything rolling happily.
Nobody's backside has broken open yet but there has been a bit of bruising from the German Kai Hundertmark, but he seems to feel that's not an issue.
Stage 3 - October 20: Paluma Dam - Lake Lucy, 148 km
Victory for the Felt-Shimano Dream team and time to celebrate!
It all began with an overnight drenching at Paluma Dam where the race caravan was stationed.
Rain at the Crocodile Trophy isn't normal for this time of year in Northern Australia.
Kai recovered very quickly from any little niggling problem that he had, spent most of the morning out front making the pace and pushing the pace so that the peloton would be forced to chase.
The tactics were dictated by Mauro Bettin who did chase in the end and finished first in the gallop after they caught Hundertmark and dropped him.
Jens Zemke who has been repeatedly saying things like, "I've never ridden even one hundred kilometres on a mountain bike," is finding that he may have a new career ahead of him as he's riding very well, looking after himself and not having any issues whatsoever.
The only issue he has is when he reads the map at night he gets a bit nervous!
Lars Eric Johnson is singing in the rain - literally as last year he suffered so badly in the heat and was therefore expecting to sweat it out this year.
Stage three Mauro took it in a sprint and it is welcome for our team. Hopefully the first of several.
This is an interesting thing as this was no ordinary sprint, a blind corner followed by a cattle grid bridge crossing over a creek. You don't get those in road racing!
Perhaps it was just as well the doctor who was brought here to aid Mauro with anything he needs has done a program where he does reconnaissance on the last one kilometre of every circuit knowing he must walk back to the one kilometre point and very quickly give Mauro the lowdown on the sprint (in Italian) .
It paid off for us when Mauro quite easily worked over the other three that he had arrived with including Adam Hansen.
Stage 4 - October 21: Lake Lucy - Blancoe Falls, 134 km
Stage four and the dream team sung it in with Kai Hundertmark going away early and being not aided by any fellow escapees, was playing them for a fool when he hit the climb and said if you guys aren't going to work that's fine!
Kai went nice and slow but then wacked it in the big gear and attacked on the climb. The only one who went with him was an Austrian who worked with him.
Kai and Markus stayed away with a maximum gap of about 25 minutes which proved very positive for Kai and not so positive for the Austrian who punctured in the last 6 kilomtres and so Kai solo'd it in but not before meeting a family of four kangaroos who waited and were nearly as shocked as he was to see each other.
Hundertmark took the stage, Mauro came a very, very close third. He's got back quite a bit of time, but the tactic was the same today.
Mauro has a race going on with Adam Hansen and that's pretty much where we are, he's still our team leader. Kai is having a very great ride but tomorrow he's going to take it easy.
Jens Zemke once again rode very well and David Wood commented at the end of the stage today that he was really pleased because he stuck with the peloton for the first two feeds and he feels like he's going to ride into this one. And Lars Eric Johnson is riding really, really well this year and like Kai is waiting for his turn to ride out the front.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Christi Valentine-Anderson