The Belgian Stijn Van Boxstael wins today’s fifth stage at Skybury in 4h49:54,9. Dutch competitor Bart Classens finishes in 2nd +1:35min and the overall race lead remains with Alan Gordon. On the 120km marathon in the Mareeba region the South African finishes in third today with a gap of +1:52min and with a total race time of 20h24:07,7 after five stages. Spain’s Brandan Marquez Fernandez finishes in fourth today (+2:02min) together with Australia’s Michael England in fifth (+2:04min). England has a gap of 6:06min in the overall rankings behind Gordon now. Bart Classens is holding onto his third place overall (+11:49min) with the Spaniard closing in (+12:23min). Another powerful race on day five by Angelika Tazreiter who is the leading female competition. The Austrian conquers today in 05:27:53,1 and with a total race progress time of 24:18:16,8 she sits it 11th position outright.
Today the fifth stage of the Crocodile Trophy saw the peloton moving on from Wondecla and heading west into some quite dry Outback landscapes. With only half the elevation from yesterday’s Queen Stage the 1,200vm included the climb up Mt Misery, which is long and on tired legs it delivers on its name. The reward and relief was then a long descent through mining country towards the historic town of Irvinebank before a relatively flat and definitely fast finish to Skybury Tropical Plantation.
Stijn Van Boxstael said that he had recovered well from yesterday’s Queen Stage, which had been tough for even for him. He had ridden with the Belgian Amateur leader Bram Saeys and that had made it enjoyable, they had shared the day together. This morning he had been able to hold onto the wheels of the lead riders and they all had worked together well. With 25km to the finish suddenly he had felt a surge of adrenaline which made him attack, “I went and nobody was on my wheel, so I kept on going and gave everything I had. And well, I have the win, I have a boomerang, I’m really happy.”
The overall race leader Alan Gordon said that his plan had been to ride a safe race today and that he was glad that the entire lead group had worked together so well in the hot and windy conditions.
Angelika Tazreiter raced with the lead group for quite some distance today, however, as the climbs got steeper she pulled back. She said that she didn´t want to go all out today and reserve some energy, “I have to admit I thoroughly feel every inch in my body, but it was two of us riding together on those last 60km in the flat, and we stopped three times on those water channels to cool off, because it was so brutally hot today. That way you keep your body fresh and I think that is time well invested to help with the recovery phase.”
The Skybury property is nestled in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands and is home to Skybury Coffee and Papayas. Just 10 minutes west of Mareeba, this family owned plantation has been growing the purest Australian Arabica coffee and tropical fruit for the past 30 years and much to the excitement of our Croc racers has been a haven of relaxation, a welcome stop-over to fuel up on delicious coffee and tropical fruit for them for years. Skybury will be home for the competitors and crew for two nights.
Tomorrow’s stage will be a 125km/1200vm circuit marathon with start and finish at Skybury and continues today’s dry outback theme travelling along some long dry dirt roads and through cattle stations.
Photos: Regina Stanger
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