With a win in today's time trial, Urs Huber secured his second consecutive Crocodile Trophy victory. Bart Brentjens and Mike Mulkens were second and third, both in the stage and the classification. Abby McLennan dominated the women's field throughout the entire race and claimed the overall women's classification with a record lead.
Excitement was in the air as the field of riders gathered this morning at 9:00 am for the final showdown. For the first time, the 38km long stage from Ayton to Cape Tribulation was raced as a time trial, whereby the athletes started in reverse order of the overall classification.
The first riders off were those for whom this event has been more fun and adventure than competition. They included experienced adventure racer Sharman Parr, triathlete Lauretta Howarth and the road racer Maree Robers, who were part of the first all-women's team at the Crocodile Trophy.
Belgian rider Kurt Alderweireldt, who had been raising funds for each and every kilometre ridden at the Croc for the Marc Herremans-Foundation, E-Biker Udo Huber, Klaus Sever from Austria and Belgian cross country racer Bart Verberckmoes, who has been living with a nut inserted in his spine since a severe accident, were among the 66 participants from all over the world, between 23 and 60 years old.
Even though Brentjens achieved a lead of 40 seconds over Huber on the first flat kilometres, the Swiss rider seized one second after the other on the nasty uphills in the tropical rainforest of North Queensland. After a time of 1:15.01 the 25-year-old crossed the finish line at Cape Tribulation with 23 seconds lead over 'Sir Bart' - and promised right there and then to return to the Croc next year. Third was, as in 2009, the Belgian rider Mulkens.
For the ladies, 30-year-old Abby McLennan finished the Crocodile Trophy first after a consistent performance and with an impressive lead of 7:53 hours over Lauretta Howarth and Nancy Carceres. Coming in as third last year and having been talked into participating again by her husband, the 30-year-old was ecstatic about her dream coming true. And also Jaan Kirsipuu was happy after his arrival as Masters winner - especially, considering the result of the Estonian delegation overall (the team Rietumu-Delfin won the team-classification).
And on the beach of Cape Tribulation, each and every finisher of the 16th edition of the race was celebrated as a hero anyway. Families and friends welcomed the riders who had just covered 1,200 kilometres and 12,000m of elevation and apart from a little shower of rain that held up the well-deserved jump into the cool ocean, the atmosphere was cheerful and full of relief and pride about the achievements of the last 10 days.
The Crocodile Trophy-circus also farewelled the Dutch rider Weit Heuker, who had passed away during the night of October 23-24, with a symbolic gesture: traditionally, after riding the final kilometres to the beach together in a bunch, the last riders of the general classification pass through the arch on the beach first. Today, Weit's teammates Harry Beutetrading and Johan Wekeman were asked to lead the field of Croc riders onto the beach and in doing so, they marked the final finish of the Crocodile Trophy 2010.