The 19th Crocodile Trophy starts this Saturday with a lap race at Smithfield in Cairns. As the world’s oldest mountain bike stage race the Crocodile Trophy has become known as the hardest and most adventurous event. This year more than 80 riders will race for 900 km through the Outback and the rain forests in Queensland’s Tropical North including Canadian’s National Marathon Champion, Cory Wallace, last year’s third finisher Wolfgang Krenn from Austria and Lotto Belisol pro-team rider, Sander Cordeel from Belgium.
Organisers of the Crocodile Trophy confirmed today that Sander Cordeel, pro-road cyclist from the Belgian Lotto Belisol team will be at the start line in Cairns this week. En-route from the Tour of Beijing Cordeel will arrive in Cairns just in time to race the first stage’s lap race at Smithfield MTB Park on Saturday, 19 October. “I was chatting with my team mate Adam Hansen about the Crocodile Trophy the other day and he talked me into signing up,” Sander Cordeel said of his last-minute decision to travel to Australia for the nine-day stage race through the Outback of Far North Queensland. “It has always been my dream to do this race”, the 25-year old road cyclist added.
Hot weather conditions, rough terrain and the images of racers pedalling towards the horizon on endless Outback Highways have characterised the race coverage since the event’s inception two decades ago. This year the event promises again to be a challenging stage race, “Part of the Crocodile Trophy fascination is the sheer adventure that our riders will experience. We will be showcasing some of the best mountain bike trails in the Cairns region and cross the Atherton-Mareeba Tablelands to take them deep into the Australian Outback.”
The remote Outback town Irvinebank and the Mt Mulligan cattle station will be two of the stage destinations next week before the riders and more than 80 supporters and crew arrive at the historic gold-mining town of Laura, where an individual time trial will add to the challenge on day seven.
The strongest international contenders for the win this year are Canadian’s National Marathon Champion, Cory Wallace, who already has two 5th places at the Crocodile Trophy to his name and last year’s third place getter Wolfgang Krenn from Austria, who also sees the Czech rider Jan Fojtik as a major competitor. “Cory Wallace and Jan Fojtik are my main opponents, I think this year. The Crocodile Trophy is a tough event, you have to be ready for anything”, Krenn said of his competition. Also Cory Wallace is ready to claim this year’s win, “I expect a lot of high end competition from both Australia and Europe at the Croc this year and will be ready to battle whoever shows up!”
After a stop-over at the Aboriginal community of Hopevale on day eight, the Crocodile Trophy will finish in Cooktown on Sunday, 27 October with rewarding ocean views and the Great Barrier Reef from the top of Grassy Hill. For more event information, visit www.crocodile-trophy.com