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Crocodile Trophy - NE
Australia, October 17-29, 2006
2005 results Schedule Start List Past winners
Wide open field for toughest test on two wheels.
By John Flynn
An enthralling international contests awaits on the dusty, corrugated, pot-holed roads of Outback Australia, when the 12th edition of the world's toughest mountain bike adventure race, the famed Crocodile Trophy, gets underway.
The event cranks into gear Tuesday October 17th, with a leg-sapping prologue stage on the beach in the tropical city of Townsville. From there the race heads into the outback and onwards to the ultimate finish line at Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef, on Sunday, October 29th. Snaking its way across the wilds of Far North Queensland over 13 stages and 1400 kilometres, The Trophy will visit the iconic Blencoe Falls, Ravenshoe, Irvinebank and Chillagoe, before entering the remote Mitchell River Country for its most hellish stages, where the combination of sandy tracks, driving heat, river crossings and yes crocodiles - will test riders to the limit.
Returning for his third shot at the title, Belgian Christophe Stevens, who won the 2005 prologue stage, will be hoping to produce a repeat performance, in the knowledge his biggest rival, two time champion Adam Hansen, won't be present. In arguably the most significant boost yet to the credibility of the Croc Trophy, Hansen this week signed a lucrative contract with the German T-Mobile pro-tour team, making Trophy Supremo Gerhard Schoenbacher (also Hansen's manager) the happiest man this side of the Aussie Outback's mythical black stump. A rider needs to be physically and mentally strong to win the Crocodile Trophy, and Hansen has learnt much from his two Crocodile Trophy victories, Schoenbacher said. We wish Adam well, and know he would love to be here, but it would not be easy explaining to Bob Stapleton (T-Mobile team boss) if Adam was bitten by a venemous snake in the Outback, so he must not race this year. The way is now open for a new champion to emerge and this makes for an exciting race.
The main contenders for 2006 will include Austrian Heinz Zorweg, the quietly spoken mountain man from The Alps, who prefers to do his talking on the bike. A stage winner in 2005 during the race defining journey from Blencoe Falls to Koombooloomba (when Mauro Bettin and Stevens suffered flat tyres) Zorweg's technical skills will come into their own on the crucial mountain stages, none the least of which is the signature stage from Cooktown to Daintree along the CREB track.
The Australians too will be out to prove the back to back victories by countryman Hansen were no fluke and the Felt-Shimano Dream Team featuring Dave Wood and Darren O'Grady appears poised to strike. Boasting a wealth of Crocodile Trophy experience under the direction of Team Manager and Crocodile Trophy character Kristy Valentine, the Dream Team is rumoured to have a few cards up its sleeve for 2006. Another dark horse among the Australians could be local Cairns ambulance paramedic Struan Lamont (Team Scott Racing) whose performances on the Australian mountain bike scene have been steadily on the rise.
A former team-mate of Hansen, Lamont knows all too well the challenges of racing in the most busted-ass bike race on the planet, and is preparing to endure the suffering as a solo competitor in 2006 on the dreaded corrugated roads of The Outback. Right now it's nice and supple, the larrakin Lamont said, offering more information on his private posterior parts than anyone really wants to know. Fingers crossed it holds out for longer than five stages, which is what it lasted last year before busting apart.
Overwhelmingly the sentimental favourite for the Crocodile Trophy of 2006 is 57 year old Frenchman Charlie Blanc. A three-time Trophy protagonist who is yet to make it to the finish line, Blanc's last CT Campaign ended in high drama on the Daintree's CREB Track in 2004, when he was airlifted out by an emergency helicopter after crashing heavily. Charlie's goal will be to make it to the finish line this time around, and every rider in the peloton will be lending a hand, somewhere, somehow, to ensure it happens. This year, the eclectic international bunch in the Croc Trophy will include more than 50 riders from Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Spain, Latvia, Japan, Canada, The USA and Australia.
1 Heinz Zörweg (AUT) Team Zörweg 2 Christoph Stevens (BEL) Belgian Bike Power 3 Stefan Rucker (AUT) Elk Haus 4 Darren O'Grady (AUS) Dream Team 6 David Wood (USA) Dream Team 7 Valentin Zeller (AUS) Dream Team 8 Christophe Desimpelaere (BEL) Team Descente - CSC 9 Ole Egeblad (DEN) Team Descente - CSC 11 Fred/Francesco Gras/Wessels (NED) Dutch Crocodile Tandem Team 12 Ronny Potter (BEL) SOWAT 13 Patrick Libert (BEL) SOWAT 14 Rik Vincke (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 15 Frederik Dewilde (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 16 Niek Lingier (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 17 Erik Baeteman (BEL) Lingier-Versluys MTB-TEAM 18 Ingmar Brichenfrid (AUT) Lietz-Sport Team 19 Harald Reisinger (AUT) Lietz-Sport Team 20 Manuel Treven (AUT) Lietz-Sport Team 21 Guy Lemmens (BEL) Team MI Croc for Sofhea 22 Erik Goeleven (BEL) Team MI Croc for Sofhea 23 Christophe Heinix (BEL) Passage Fitness First Oudaan 24 Marco Bücken (SUI) Tri Team Glarnerland 25 William Bird (AUS) 26 Attila Marton (HUN) Meditech Sport Club - CIB Leasing 27 Michael Borup (DEN) RT-Adidas-Roadbike Shop 28 Joel Geny (BEL) P. Léger Artisan Chocolatier 29 Struan Lamont (AUS) Team Scott Racing 30 Toru Watanabe (JPA) Green Life Tohoku 31 Roger Freixenet (ESP) Yorky's 32 Salvador Ribotipons (ESP) Matxacuca - Xaloc 33 Hansi Friedl (BRD) 34 Luc Gielen (BEL) Team MI Croc for Sofhea 35 Charles Blanc (FRA) 36 Shane Laird (CAN) NSD 37 Cal Burgart (USA) San Diego Cyclo-Vets 38 Fulvio Villano (ITA) 39 Günter Rafeiner (AUT) Mountainbiker.AT 40 Ralf Peter Schnorr (SUI) Fitmanager.de 42 Melanie Grant (AUS) 43 Dominique Angerer (AUT)
Men 2005 Adam Hansen (Aus) Cairns Coconut C. Simplon 1 2004 Adam Hansen (Aus) Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort 2003 Roland Stauder (Ita) Red Bull Women 2005 Kim Proctor (Aus) 2004 Anita Waiß (Aut) skinfit TEAM AUSTRIA 2003 Rosi King (Aus)