29 Oct 2012

An excited crowd of spectators welcomed the 2012 Crocodile Trophy winner Ivan Rybarik (CZE) on Grassy Hill in Cooktown today. On the ninth stage into Cooktown, Josef Benetseder crowned the Crocodile Trophy 2012 with a stage win for Austria ahead of Mike Mulkens (BEL) and the Australian Luke Haines. Ondrej Fojtik claims the overall second place and Wolfgang Krenn comes in third.

Ivan Rybarik (in the orange jersey) takes the overall win.

Cooktown was Captain Cook’s first landing place and a meeting place for the Aboriginal people of today’s Far North Queensland. So it seems that it is only fitting that the Crocodile Trophy racers arrived today at the historic Grassy Hill after days of immense efforts racing their bikes and experiencing adventures in the Outback together with likeminded cyclists from all over the world. Together they endured more than 900 kilometers and 16,000 m of climbing and many will return home having found new friends for life.

Josef Benetseder was the fastest rider of the day and claimed his first Crocodile Trophy stage win. “Last year I got second three times, so I came back to win a stage”, said the beaming Austrian road racer today. “It was much harder this year and those technical mountain bike stages were challenging, but today I knew it was a stage for me.” The field had been started in staggered starts with the leaders in the GC riding out of Laura onto the wide and undulating gravel roads last. That way most of the riders arrived together on Grassy Hill and celebrated their achievements of the past nine days. Mike Mulkens from Belgium was second today and the Australian Luke Haines third.

Czech rider dominates field

With an impressive performance and four stage wins, Ivan Rybarik is the 2012 Crocodile Trophy champion. He arrived together with second and third on the podium and after congratulating Ondrej Fojtik (CZE) and Wolfgang Krenn he of his race, “I just had such a good time racing the Crocodile Trophy this year.” He added that he wanted to thank his wife Yana and daughter Elena who had supported him in preparation for the adventure stage race on the other side of the world and his Rubena Rocky Trail Racing Team, “My business partner Ondrej [Slezak] and his Hana were great and looked after me these past weeks and motivated me each day. We just had such a great time, in our team camp the atmosphere was always positive, we were chatting and talking about biking all the time. It was really the best environment for me to do well this year.”

Australian rider Kate Major finished on top of the podium after 9 stages and over 42 hours on the bike.

Race organiser Gerhard Schönbacher was content on Grassy Hill also, “This year we implemented a lot of new elements in the Crocodile Trophy. More mountain biking tracks, new stage destinations and even though the increased participant number meant a much greater logistical challenge in the Australian Outback, it definitely encourages us to keep improving our event.” The hardest longest, hottest and most adventurous mountain bike stage race certainly delivered on its promises this year and will be back in Tropical Far North Queensland in 2013 from 19 – 26 October.

Crocodile Trophy 2012
“The hardest, longest and most adventurous mountain bike stage race in the world.”

Full podium Elite Men overall:
1. Ivan Rybarik (CZE), Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE, 34:08:59 2. Ondrej Fojtik (CZE), +17:55
3. Wolfgang Krenn (AUT), +49:18
4. Cory Wallace (CAN), 01:11:06
5. Ondrej Slezak (CZE), Rubena Rocky Trail Racing CZE, 01:28:25

Full podium Women overall:
1. Kate Major (AUS), 42:23:17
2. Alice Pirard (BEL), O2 Bikers – WMTB.be – Schwalbe, 45:38:29 3. Tinneke Van de Voorde (BEL), 53:13:44
4. Annie van der Linde (NED), 59:24:33
5. Jade Forsyth (AUS), 60:09:23

M1 Winner:
1. Werner van der Merwe (UK), Subaru-MarathonMTB.com, 35:15:54

M2 Winner:
1. Marc Baechli (SUI), 37:14;45

M3 Winner:
1. Milan Spolc (CZE), 37:28:15

Adventure Team category elite winners:
1. Mark Griffin / Aaron Lakeman (AUS), Rubena Rocky Trail Racing, 37:48:50 / 37:50:34

Adventure Team category M1 winners:
1. Pierre Paligot / Dirk Abeloos (BEL), Croco RR Team Habay, 57:53:25 / 57:53:38

Team of Three category winners:
Rubena Rocky Trail Racing, Michal Kafka / Ivan Rybarik / Ondrej Slezak (CZE)