Stage 4: Atherton to Atherton through the Great Dividing Range 80km with 2200m of climbing. Ryan Sherlock is keeping it consistent for another top 10 finish. Urs Huber continues his winning streak as does local rider Sarah White.
Check out the stage 4 video
The Swiss Urs Huber now extends his lead over Nicholas Pettina (ITA) to over five minutes. Sarah White from Cairns is dominating in the again women's.
Ryan finishes in 9th place today and sums up his ride. I have been very lucky with my mountain bike racing this year, other than both the Irish cross country and marathon Championships I have barely raced in the rain or even in wet conditions. Seven day stages all over the world and barely a drop. Coming to Australia I thought that this trend would continue but I really should have payed closer attention to us racing in the Rainforest.
Today started out like yesterday, overcast with passing showers but the temperature was nice - kinda in the Goldilocks zone - not too warm, not too cold. The race today looked to be a good one for me, lots of climbing and a large section of double track racing through the aforementioned rainforest. We started off fast not nothing too crazy and as we started the major climbs I tried to settle into a good rhythm rather than following many of the attacks. Last years GC winner Greg Saw seemed to be taking the same approach so I was happy enough with that. In the end, I think that was a mistake as a group of five just hovered a couple of minutes in front of me all day but I never got over. The legs were okay but not great and I just could never make the bridge. I seemed to be stuck on one speed all day riding all the climbs whether at the start of the stage or finish.
I finished 9th on the stage with Urs claiming his third stage win closely followed by Nicolas. Urs now has a commanding lead but with five more stages to come, anything can happen.
Having looked at my uploads as I put them onto strava I can see some of the rides from other riders (the leading few) from previous years, this year the pace is way up - I was faster up climbs than podium guys last year but still well off (at the moment - my day will come!) the front runners this year - four days in and there hasn’t been any easy riding along!
Riders at the sharp end are enjoying the experience: Nicholas Pettina says that it was the hardest day so far. I love this race, because every day is different. Even during today’s stage the weather kept changing like five times – dry in the beginning, in the rainforest it was really muddy and it was just beautiful there, but really hard to ride. This is one tough race, but I enjoy it a lot.”
As Sören Nissen says, 'I’m third overall, but you never know what can happen, it’s still a long
That's the beauty of this race, it is long, but takes in so much of the varied and unique terrain in this part of the world. It's a unique experience.
Sarah White sums up the stage, 'today was a long day, it was tough, but it was fun, I loved it'.
Regina Genser 2nd Elite Women Stage 4 and 2nd Overall is finding it, 'all in all it’s an amazing experience'.
1st Amateur Women on stage 4 and 1st Overall, Kristin Endres (Darmstadt, GER) sums up the Crocodile Trophy race experience and it's only day 4, 'I’m just glad that I didn’t have my camera with me today! I would have stopped to take pictures. The sections in the the rainforest were so beautiful, it was a shame we had to race through there, I feel like I couldn’t take it all in! The birds were singing and the vegetation was so new for me – it was just a great feeling to experience today'.
Tomorrow's stage will likely bring drier conditions, as the Crocodile Trophy camp moves deeper into the Outback and on to Irvinebank, a historic mining town about 80km south-west of Cairns. With 96 km and almost 3000m of elevation it will a tough stage.