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Crocodile Trophy - NE
Australia, October 17-29, 2006
Race 6 - October 22: Koombooloomba - Irvinebank, 125 km
Borup buries disappointment with strong stage victory – and a gift from Rucker
By John Michael Flynn at Irvinebank
A beautiful act of sportsmanship from Austrian Stefan Rucker brought closure to yesterday’s soul-destroying Crocodile Trophy experience for Dane Michael Borup, when he was gifted the stage victory in today’s 98 kilometre journey from Koombooloomba to Irvinebank in far North-Queensland.
Borup launched an attack two-kilometres into the stage, as the lead bunch rolled through the World Heritage Listed rainforest of Ravenshoe, and took his anger out on the pedals for most of the next hour - tapping out a frantic beat. “Today I just wanted to prove that yesterday was all wrong, today I drove with the legs and not the head,” Borup said. “We attacked already, after one or two kilometers I went straight ahead and I had Rucker on my wheel. I know he’s been going really strong for the last couple of stages so I knew he’d be a good guy to be with and after that we worked really perfectly together.”
For Borup, there was no better way too put behind the disaster of yesterday than to get on with the business of racing. It’s now history that the Dane and Austrian Heinz Zorweg took a wrong turn while sharing the lead during stage five of the Crocodile Trophy - a mistake which effectively ended both riders’ chances of a General Classification win.
Still, it’s a race of contrasts. While Zorweg chose to officially withdraw from the race and take a holiday, riding at the rear of the peloton, Borup blasted to a stage win. “I came here to try to do something and I think today I did and what comes from now is going to be a bonus,” Borup said. “I won’t think much of what happened yesterday, what’s done is done and I’m going to race on.”
Today’s act of fellowship from Rucker could only have added to Borup’s positive outlook. The Austrian looked the stronger of the two breakaway riders heading toward the finish, but after winning two stages himself, offered up the victory to his Sunday riding companion.
“It was a nice day, I’m quite happy for Michael that he won and that he continued the race - he didn’t stop and he really deserved the win today,” Rucker said. “He helped me a lot during the stage, we had different goals, I wanted the most aggressive rider, I already have two stage wins, he has none.”
No change in battle for General Classification
The big question now at the Crocodile Trophy is - when will the Felt-Shimano Dream Team attack Christophe Stevens? The answer to that question should provide the answer to an equally compelling question - does the Felt-Shimano Dream Team have the class to win the Crocodile Trophy?
On paper, today’s predominately road stage linking the rainforest of the Atherton Tableland with the outback, looked like a perfect opportunity for the Green Machine to send riders up the road.
Stevens, the GC leader, was effectively isolated in a small pack containing all three Dream Team riders, David Wood, Valentin Zeller and Darren O’Grady, but almost surprisingly, the Dream Team chose to hold onto its cards, ignoring one of cycling’s oldest proverbs: three against one – you lose.
“Today was basically a road stage and he’s (Stevens) a professional road rider, we weren’t going to lose him today,” Dream Team Directeur Sportif Christie Anderson said. “He’s going very well up to this point, we don’t think he’s got the fundamental foundation in his legs, he hasn’t trained for this race.
“He will eventually blow, we just need to wait for the moment when he’s looking a little bit weak and we’ll work him over if we can”
‘If’ appears to be the operative word for the Dream Team, which has Austrian Valentin Zeller in third outright, Australians David Wood fifth and Darren O’Grady 11th. All three riders were classed as ‘smokies’ at best heading into the 2006 Croc Trophy, with Zeller, if anything, hiding in the bunch.
“Valentin (3rd on GC) would be our best on the overall classification, we’ve got Darren who we’re ready to launch any time, we’ve picked a couple of stages with his name on them for a stage win,” Anderson said. “We’re going to keep ticking away at the team’s competition - we’re going to have it by several hours going into the Daintree stage.”
Will bird read to fly into Cooktown
Tomorrow will be birthday time for two of the Crocodile Trophy’s favourite riders - Japan’s Toru Watanabe (39) and Australian Will Bird (29). Bird enjoys the unique distinction of being the first Crocodile Trophy campaigner to hail from the historic port of Cooktown – one of the Croc Trophy’s traditional destinations.
With the race now almost at the half way point, Bird rolled into Outback Irvinebank today sporting his ever present smile, and comfortable in the knowledge, he’ll more than likely make it back home for the Trophy’s penultimate stage, where he’ll be met by a parochial crowd at the top of ‘Grassy Hill’.
“When we pass through Cooktown hopefully my mates will be waiting to see me as well as mum and dad,” Will said. “It’ll be a happy day for me and tomorrow will be another happy day, I’ll turn 29 tomorrow and Toru will turn 39 tomorrow - so we’ll have a happy day and enjoy our birthday together.”
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by John Flynn/Cyclingnews.com
Stage 6 - Outright 1 Michael Borup (DEN) RT-Adidas-Roadbike Shop 2.55.45 2 Stefan Rucker (AUT) Elk Haus 3 David Wood (AUS) Dream Team 12.42 4 Christoph Stevens (BEL) Belgian Bike Power 5 Attila Marton (HUN) Meditech Sport Club - CIB Leasing 12.47 6 Ingmar Brichenfrid (AUT) Lietz-Sport Team 12.52 7 Valentin Zeller (AUT) Dream Team 8 Darren O'Grady (AUS) Dream Team 16.54 9 Niek Lingier (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 19.44 10 Struan Lamont (AUS) Team Scott Racing 23.21 11 Frederik Dewilde (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 24.28 12 Luc Gielen (BEL) Team MI Croc for Sofhea 25.16 13 Erik Goeleven (BEL) Team MI Croc for Sofhea 14 Manuel Treven (AUT) Lietz-Sport Team 30.22 15 Joel Geny (BEL) P. Léger Artisan Chocolatier 39.02 16 Christophe Heinix (BEL) Passage Fitness First Oudaan 39.16 17 Guy Lemmens (BEL) Team MI Croc for Sofhea 51.18 18 Dominique Angerer (AUT) 51.51 19 Ole Egeblad (DEN) Team Descente - CSC 53.05 20 Ralf Peter Schnorr (SUI) Fitmanager.de 21 Fred/Francesco Gras/Wessels (NED) Dutch Crocodile Tandem Team 59.13 22 William Bird (AUS) 1.02.10 23 Charles Blanc (FRA) 1.02.32 24 Erik Baeteman (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 1.05.17 25 Cal Burgart (USA) San Diego Cyclo-Vets 1.12.14 26 Günter Rafeiner (AUT) Mountainbiker.AT 1.13.17 27 Christophe Desimpelaere (BEL) Team Descente - CSC 1.15.59 28 Harald Reisinger (AUT) Lietz-Sport Team 1.17.03 29 Marco Bücken (SUI) Tri Team Glarnerland 1.20.45 30 Hansi Friedl (BRD) 1.29.16 31 Ronny Potter (BEL) SOWAT 32 Patrick Libert (BEL) SOWAT 33 Shane Laird (CAN) NSD 1.29.37 34 Roger Freixenet (ESP) Yorky's 1.33.19 35 Melanie Grant (AUS) 1.39.16 36 Fulvio Villano (ITA) 37 Salvador Ribotipons (ESP) Matxacuca - Xaloc 1.50.22 38 Rik Vincke (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 2 1.53.47 39 Toru Watanabe (JPA) Green Life Tohoku 1.55.01 40 Heinz Zörweg (AUT) Team Zörweg Stage 6 - Women 1 Dominique Angerer (AUT) 3.47.36 2 Melanie Grant (AUS) 47.25 Most Aggressive Rider Michael Borup (DEN)