The Canadian Leandre Bouchard defends his Crocodile Trophy Elite Men's leader jersey during today's stage two from Cairns to Atherton.
Riders arriving at the finish at Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands recounted a brutal stage with massive 'ramps' that had to be conquered. Once again the Crocodile Trophy lived up to its reputation as the "hardest mountain bike stage race" on earth right on day two. Today's 79km marathon stage started with a neutral ride out of Cairns towards the escarpment where the official start gun went and riders started the first tough climb towards Copperlode Dam. Then the elevation profile then was full of steep pinches and hills - 2100vm were to cover in the one day.
The top three in the general classification raced and crossed the finish line together at Lake Tinaroo in 4h09:37.5: Anton Sintsov (RUS) and the Canadians Leandre Bouchard (CAN) and Andrew L'Esperance all clocked in the same race time today. This means that the general classification will stay the same and the gaps between the top riders remain unchanged: Leandre Bouchard ahead of Andrew L'Esperance (+1:29.4) and Anton Sintsov (+4:38.2).
Again the amateur field showed strength with Erik Dekker (NED, A3) racing onto the overall fourth position in today's stage ahead of the Australian A2 racers Ondrej Slezak and Alex Malone.
In the overall women's field, Haley Smith (CAN) finished in 4h32:06.1 ahead of Swiss amateur rider Daniela Erni Ruoss (4h55:10.0) and Kylie Lindsay from Australia (6h20:49.0).
Locked gate causes distraction
Slight upset in the mid-field: due to locked gates along the "Sunwater" waterways the lead car with the crew that marks the race track was stuck just after the half-way mark of the stage. With the permits all in order stating today as the race day, the racers were able to pass through and raced the remaining distance on an unmarked race course based on GPS coordinates that the organisers had provided in the event lead up. As a consequence 13 riders unfortunately missed a turn and did detours between 5 and 8km before rejoining the correct race track.
Race organiser Gerhard Schönbacher commented, "This was a very unfortunate situation, especially as we relied on our permit documentation, however, we understand it was a mere miscommunication that caused the Sunwater gates to be locked today. Those things can happen and I thank our UCI Commissaire Peter Blakey for handling the situation in a very professional manner. I have been informed that the 13 riders were able to provide GPS information of their race times and based on their additional kilometres had an average time deducted from their race time today."
With this distraction being resolved so swiftly, the rider field is looking forward to tomorrow's stage will take the riders on a 100km/2600m through the Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve to the Tepon Equestrian Park and as the official rider briefing document suggests, "You better be well rested for this one." - A very rocky and hilly landscape awaits the Crocodile Trophy racers with many steep climbs.
Top results Stage 2:
1. # Anton Sintsov (RUS) / JBG-2 Team / 4h09:37.5
2. #3 Leandre Bouchard (CAN) / BH SR Suntour KMC / 4h09:37.5 +0
3. # Andrew L'Esperance (CAN) / Forward Racing-Norco / 4h09:37.5 +0
Overall results after 2 stages:
1. #3 Leandre Bouchard (CAN) / BH SR Suntour KMC / 5h47:45.2
2. # Andrew L'Esperance (CAN) / Forward Racing-Norco / 5h49:14.6 +1:29.4
3. # Anton Sintsov (RUS) / JBG-2 Team / 5h52:23.4 +4:38.2