The world’s oldest mountain bike stage race returns to the Atherton Tablelands this month with French national marathon champion Miguel Martinez as well as four-time Tour de France racer Erik Dekker from The Netherlands set to lead the field.
Tropical Tablelands Tourism chair Michael Trout said the legendary mountain bike stage race would start on September 16 in Cairns and take its international field of riders through the Atherton Tablelands region to Port Douglas, where the event will finish on Four Mile Beach eight days later on September 23.
“This year the Dutch three-time Tour de France stage winner Erik Dekker will be at the start line alongside the Frenchman Miguel Martinez,” Mr Trout said.
Elite women to watch include adventure racer Joanne Koy who is stepping up from amateur with respectable results on the national marathon racing scene this year along with Haley Smith from Canada and marathon race Daniela Erni Ruoss from Switzerland.
In the men’s the Australian riders include many multiple Crocodile Trophy finishers and category winners such as Garry James from Canberra and the local racing team around 5-time finisher Brendon Skerke.
The Austro-Australian Martin Wisata from the NSW Central Coast will be returning for his eighth turn at the Croc, increasing his lead as the world-wide record holder of most events finished.
For the 2017 edition, the organisers of the “Croc” said the event would partner with The Middle East Peace Tour (MEPT). The MEPT is the first cross-border sporting event for peace in the world.
Cyclists from all around the world will be permitted to participate in its inaugural race in March 2018 – from amateur and hobby cyclists to professionals.
Gerhard Schönbacher, former professional road cyclist and the founder of both the “Croc and MEPT, is proud that his two races complement each other so well.
“Just as I´ve always wanted to discover and explore the most beautiful regions of Australia on the bike with my Crocodile Trophy racers, I´ve had a life-long dream to create a cycling event promoting peace with the participation of athletes from all countries and entities in the Middle East area.”
The eight-day stage plan for 2017 Crocodile Trophy will be:
Stage 1 – Smithfield – 33km
Stage 2 – Cairns – Lake Tinaroo – 78km (incl. 12km neutral to official start)
Stage 3 – Lake Tinaroo – Tepon Equestrian Park, Kalunga/Herberton – 105km
Stage 4 – Kalunga – Skybury Coffee – 121km
Stage 5 – Skybury Coffee Marathon – 125km
Stage 6 – Skybury Coffee – Wetherby Station – 103km
Stage 7 – Wetherby Station Marathon – 78km
Stage 8 – Wetherby Station – Four Mile Beach – 30km.
Mr Schönbacher said Skybury Coffee & Roastery would offer one of the best vantage points for the race, with competitors based there for two nights.
“We will also be finishing at Lake Tinaroo across from the Holiday Park and the third stage
will finish in Wondecla at the Tepon Equestrian Park.”
Written by Tanya Snelling. Originally published 13th September 2017