The 2014 Crocodile Trophy elite women's winner Imogen Smith from Mount Coot-tha, QLD, has just announced her withdrawal from this year's event.
One of the main contenders for the Elite Women's win at this year's Crocodile Trophy, the Australian Imogen Smith, has just withdrawn from the event. Living in the foothills of Mt Coot-tha in Queensland, Imogen, a lean and natural climber, has the perfect terrain right in her backyard to make sure she is one of the best climbers in the marathon and stage racing scene – lots of mountains. With palmares including winning the Crocodile Trophy (2014) and three stage victories at the Swiss Epic in mixed pairs (with husband Mike Blewitt in 2015), and National XCM race wins Imogen has made her presence felt in key XCM events and select National XCO races.
Unfortunately, one of our major contenders for a second Crocodile Trophy victory, was left horribly injured in a major road racing accident in early 2017 and even though Imogen Smith has an intense couple of months of recovery behind her and put in a lot of work and training to claw herself back into the racing scene, she says she had "lost a lot of muscle and conditioning".
In a statement to the organisers today Imogen Smith declared her withdrawal:
"After a lot of hard thinking I've had to accept that I won't be able to compete in the Croc this year. [...] After racing quite a bit for two weeks, I've had trouble recovering and had quite a lot of pain. I've seen my surgeon and physio, and had a lot of conversations with Mike and my coach, and I've had to come around to the fact that I'm probably not yet strong enough to attack an eight-day stage race. Even though I'm quite fit, there are a lot of imbalances and weaknesses I need to address before I can compete in an event as demanding as the Croc.
[...] I'm really disappointed, as is Mike, and I'll be watching the event very closely from home in Brisbane. I'll still be out racing - I just have to leave the really hard stuff for next year, and the Croc is perhaps the hardest there is. So I hope to see you at another event in the near future and wish you a hugely successful Croc for 2017."
Organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher said, "The entire Croc team and family extends its well-wishes to Imogen Smith - we'll miss her at the start line in Cairns, however, we understand that one's health is the most important thing, especially in such a crucial stage of recovery from injury."
The Crocodile Trophy will start on 16th September in Cairns.
Photo: Regina Stanger/Crocodile Trophy 2014