Van Vleuten: “One of the best things, I’ve ever done in my life”
Top star Annemiek Van Vleuten returns to Crocodile Trophy 2023 with good memories

She is the number one in Women’s Cycling. Last year Annemiek van Vleuten won the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana and the World Championship in road cycling. 2023 will be her last year on the road, as the 40-Year-Old, who was four-time World Champion and one-time Olympic Champion, will retire at the end of the year. Beside the big road races, she has one special offroad adventure in her sights.

Van Vleuten will take part at the Crocodile Trophy in November, a mountain bike stage race organized by former road professional Gerhard Schönbacher from Austria. In the northern-east of Australia there will wait 600 kilometres and 10.000 metres of climbing and a special adventure, as the Dutch rider already knows. In 2016 she did her first participation at this mountain bike race.

“It is a great event, as it leads you to places, which you normally won’t visit. 15 kilometres ahead of the finish line you have no clue, where the race can end and then you reach the finish in the middle of nowhere”, remembers Van Vleuten her first participation eight years ago.

The top star from the Netherlands also liked the relaxed atmosphere of the event, in comparison to the stressful road races she is normally used to compete. “The vibes are cool, you’re placed with the camp at nice spots, spending your evenings at the campfire, toasting marshmallows”, described Van Vleuten, who already won every race on the road calendar at least for one time.

As she collected many memories around the world, her only participation at the mountain bike race in Australia took a special place: “The Crocodile Trophy is one the best things, I have ever done in my life. I really enjoyed the exchange with the other participant, it was very intimate.”

„The feedback of our participants is very important to me. They are the heart of the Crocodile Trophy, so their feelings are my main focus. Annemiek has done and seen so many races around the world. As an organizer it pleases me, that she appreciates my race so much”, said Schönbacher, who is looking forward to welcome his famous returnee back at his race in Down Under.

His adventure will be shortened by two days in 2023. There will be no prologue and the most difficult stage around Wondecla is removed from the race program. “The weather and the, for most of the competitors, completely new conditions in Australia make the race tough enough. The course is still very attractive and includes still a lot of challenges for the athletes”, explained Schönbacher the redesigned route.

The Crocodile Trophy 2023 will be scheduled from 5th to 11th November and starts in Kuranda in Queensland. After seven stages the race ends as usual in Port Douglas on the famous Four-Mile-Beach.

"You have to do it – once in your lifetime"