Canadian Cyclist

 

September 18/17 15:48 pm - Crocodile Trophy Stage 3, Bouchard extends lead


Posted by Editoress on 09/18/17
 

Erik Dekker attacks the Elites, Bouchard on the defence

Crocodile Trophy proved that it still has a bite – long gone are the 200km stages across the Outback Highways, but nowadays the stage plan holds a few surprises for its riders every year. The fourth-longest stage offered the most metres of climbing in one day this year – the Dutch road cycling legend and master racer Erik Dekker keeps his Amateur leader jersey, taking the third position behind the Canadian elite racers Andrew L'Esperance and Leandre Bouchard, who increased his lead in the general classification considerably. Elite woman Haley Smith admits a special kind of motivation to race hard each day.

On the day's Croc menu for stage 3 was a 100km marathon from Lake Tinaroo to Tepon Equestrian Park near Herberton on the Atherton Tablelands. What puts the “standard” marathon distance in perspective is the elevation profile of thestage: with 2,600m of climbing by far the most metres of climbing in one day at this year's event. Just another day in the saddle at the hardest mountain bike stage race in the world - “You better be well rested for this one”, was the organisers brief for the international rider field last night.

 

Photo

Andrew L'Esperance leads Leandre Bouchard

 

Photo

Erik Dekker

 

The first 20km was relatively flat terrain and a lead group of three riders formed quickly: Leandre Bouchard and Andrew L'Esperance took turns together with Erik Dekker, four-time Tour de France stage winner, a household name in the Netherlands when it comes to cycling. The three riders worked up an incredible lead, but the two Canadians attacked and dropped Dekker at the 30km mark when the technical climbs peppered with brutally steep climbs kicked in and took a massive gap of more than 22 minutes into the finish.

Erik Dekker rode the remaining stage by himself and unfortunately crashed with just a few kilometres to go. “I crashed on the asphalt, on the bridge. There was a bit of a gap in the bridge and I crashed there. I was riding by myself, I hadn't even been in a hurry or anything”, he recounted the scary moments. About the race the 47-year old said that he had known that it would be hard, but hadn't expected how steep the ramps were going to be just from looking at the elevation profiles. The amateur leader was in good spirits he was joking that maybe he only perceived the climbs to be that tough.

 

“Anyone who finishes today, power to them”
One who's statements resonated with Dekker's sentiments about the conditions, was the second-placed, Andrew L'Esperance, “Today was a very challenging course – anyone who finishes today without any injury and still pedalling... power to them, it's awesome!”

For him the race had started off well as he had been able to get a gap by the first creek crossing. “I just rode steady and I figured Leandre would make it back up to me and he did together with Erik Dekker.” L'Esperance recounted that the three had worked really well until the climbs. A later attack against the overall leader Bouchard wasn't successful and the pair then finished right behind each other: Bouchard took stage 3 and defended his leaders jersey with 4:50:58, just one tenth of a second ahead of L'Esperance.
In the general classification, L'Esperance stays on the wheel of Bouchard, maintaining the gap of 1:30. Together they lead by a margin of more than half an hour after the stage ahead of Erik Dekker (NED) and by 1:11:41 to the third GC Elite Rider, Anton Sintsov.

Racing, but still enjoying what Australia has to offer
L'Esperance also said that he was able to take in the Australian scenery, even though he was racing, “It's a beautiful place! Even though we're racing, we definitely took some time to look around today. Once we got on top of those mountain tops we were like, wow, this is beautiful! Yesterday, actually, we saw some kangaroos, or maybe big wallabies, they were following us in the woods, that was cool.

About the remaining race L'Esperance said, “I can't believe it's still five more days! Hopefully my legs can still do it, because I've been smashing it today for sure.”

Haley Smith – lone Elite Woman on a mission
Haley Smith, the only elite woman in this year's event said that she was surprised how good she felt after day 2 given that she had never done anything like this before, “I've never done a marathon, let alone a marathon stage race. So I'm pleasantly surprised with how I'm riding so far and how my legs are feeling. But I've had some really good men to ride with and it's been a very cohesive group to ride with. It's been good, I've had a lot of guys to encourage me along.”

As a short-distance cross-country rider who is used to punchy races the MEPT - Crocodile Trophy had been on the cards since a several-week long training camp earlier this year together with her partner Andrew L'Esperance. “When we got home we kind of had the bug for long riding. We were wondering if there was a race the fits in with our season that we could try. This ended up working out, because it is just after the World Championship, so we jumped on it.”

Smith also admitted that she had a special kind of motivation to race hard, because she had made a deal with partner and fellow racer L'Esperance, “Well, I love Disneyworld. It's somewhere I've gone since I was a little girl. And we made a deal that if we win enough prize money we would go to Disneyworld in Florida. It's totally illogical, but it's been a fun motivation for us.”



Results

Stage 3: Lake Tinaroo to Tepon Equestrian Park, 100 km / 2600 vm
1 Leandre Bouchard (BH SR Suntour KMC) 4:50:58
2 Andrew L'Esperance (Forward Racing-Norco) at 0:01
3 Erik Dekker 22:40
4 Ondrej Slezak (Quantum Racing Team) 45:24
5 Tom Van Brempt (Ferme de la H) 47:48
6 Daniel Beresford (Team Cycle Station/Hammer Nutrition/Norco) 54:22
7 Hiroyuki Okamoto (INPULSE) 55:38
8 Grant Webster (Apollo Bicycles - nitelights - BBD - dust monkies) 59:47
9 Alex Malone (Cyclist Magazine) 1:00:42
10 Ben May (Bicycle Riders/Specialized/Infinit Nutrition) 1:01:39
11 Anton Sintsov (JBG-2 Team) 1:07:02
12 Michal Kafka (Quantum Racing Team) 1:08:50
13 Haley Smith (Norco Factory Team) 1:14:59
14 Peter Lister (Corry Cycles ACE Racing) 1:15:06
15 Mike Blewitt (Subaru-MarathonMTB.com) 1:15:28
16 Peter Urdl 1:17:56
17 Micheal Wilson 1:23:48
18 Graeme Young 1:33:00
19 Jürgen Krieber (MTB-Intersport Montafon/Fahrschule Mallin) 1:35:16
20 Johnathan Todd 1:37:01
21 Cees De Ridder 1:37:49
22 Jean-Luc De Bruyckere (Bezmbikers) 1:38:52
23 Richard Read (Cops at the Croc - Enduro Magazine) 1:39:57
24 Blake Coppo (Corry Cycles Ace Racing) 1:44:34
25 Marc Russenberger (2XU) 1:46:25
26 Daniela Erni Ruoss (2XU) 1:46:25
27 Jaroslav Slezak (Quantum Racing Team) 1:50:47
28 Peter Winfield 1:50:47
29 Nick Hutton 1:52:26
30 Martin Wisata (Il Pastaio / Rocky Trail Racing) 1:52:59
31 Rod Stormonth (Cops at the Croc - Enduro Magazine) 1:56:56
32 Balboni Vanni (BICISCOUT.IT) 1:57:20
33 Bart Duraj (Astute Financial Racing Team) 2:02:30
34 Brendon Skerke (Astute Financial Racing Team) 2:02:30
35 James Garry (Ashfield Specialized Racing) 2:05:36
36 Brian Tracey (ECS) 2:12:05
37 Radek Jaros (Quantum Racing Team) 2:15:46
38 Olaf Trenner (Trenner der Renner) 2:23:06
39 Serge Muylle (Serge Muylle) 2:25:08
40 Stefan Zorniger (Team Strassacker) 2:25:13
41 John Harris (JH) 2:32:34
42 Sebastian Arnstedt 2:33:54
43 Romana Fritz-Winter (Team Sportordination) 2:39:00
44 Robert Fritz (Team Sportordination) 2:39:00
45 Pieter Van Der Eijk (MTB Team FATlab NL) 2:49:19
46 Nick Smith (Nick & Nick) 2:51:01
47 Luc Van Aelbroeck 2:51:02
48 Nick Gatland (Nick & Nick) 2:51:02
49 Pieter Lanssens 2:51:02
50 Michael Peters (Zelzer Racing Team) 2:52:15
51 Willem Dijk 3:05:02
52 Roman Pfister (ROMO Cycling Team) 3:05:02
53 Mick Ritchie (Cops at the Croc - Enduro Magazine) 3:15:38
54 Paul Brown (Inparadise) 3:25:13
55 Jodi Brown (Inparadise) 3:25:14
56 Carsten Selbach (Steil is geil) 3:35:37
57 Daniela Rebhan (Steil is geil) 3:35:37
58 Kylie Lindsay 4:35:36
59 Alexander Onofre Brempel Ballester (Bikepoint Mallorca Racing Team) 4:35:36
 
GC
1 Leandre Bouchard (BH SR Suntour KMC) 10:38:43
2 Andrew L'Esperance (Forward Racing-Norco) 1:30
3 Erik Dekker 31:10
4 Ondrej Slezak (Quantum Racing Team) 56:26
5 Anton Sintsov (JBG-2 Team) 1:11:41
6 Alex Malone (Cyclist Magazine) 1:12:57
7 Tom Van Brempt (Ferme de la H) 1:16:32
8 Daniel Beresford (Team Cycle Station/Hammer Nutrition/Norco) 1:17:48
9 Hiroyuki Okamoto (INPULSE) 1:21:02
10 Ben May (Bicycle Riders/Specialized/Infinit Nutrition) 1:31:40
11 Grant Webster (Apollo Bicycles - nitelights - BBD - dust monkies) 1:35:12
12 Michal Kafka (Quantum Racing Team) 1:36:56
13 Peter Lister (Corry Cycles ACE Racing) 1:48:31
14 Haley Smith (Norco Factory Team) 1:53:23
15 Mike Blewitt (Subaru-MarathonMTB.com) 1:54:52
16 Peter Urdl 2:05:25
17 Micheal Wilson 2:11:50
18 Graeme Young 2:24:55
19 Johnathan Todd 2:35:10
20 Martin Wisata (Il Pastaio / Rocky Trail Racing) 2:37:44
21 Jürgen Krieber (MTB-Intersport Montafon/Fahrschule Mallin) 2:38:56
22 Richard Read (Cops at the Croc - Enduro Magazine) 2:44:38
23 Cees De Ridder 2:47:22
24 Blake Coppo (Corry Cycles Ace Racing) 2:50:52
25 Nick Hutton 2:52:42
26 James Garry (Ashfield Specialized Racing) 2:53:06
27 Jean-Luc De Bruyckere (Bezmbikers) 2:53:17
28 Peter Winfield 2:58:10
29 Jaroslav Slezak (Quantum Racing Team) 2:59:55
30 Daniela Erni Ruoss (2XU) 3:05:35
31 Rod Stormonth (Cops at the Croc - Enduro Magazine) 3:06:01
32 Brian Tracey (ECS) 3:06:05
33 Bart Duraj (Astute Financial Racing Team) 3:09:01
34 Brendon Skerke (Astute Financial Racing Team) 3:09:04
35 Marc Russenberger (2XU) 3:13:40
36 Balboni Vanni (BICISCOUT.IT) 3:35:46
37 Olaf Trenner (Trenner der Renner) 3:39:49
38 Serge Muylle (Serge Muylle) 3:52:50
39 Radek Jaros (Quantum Racing Team) 3:54:02
40 John Harris (JH) 4:02:30
41 Pieter Van Der Eijk (MTB Team FATlab NL) 4:04:44
42 Sebastian Arnstedt 4:06:07
43 Stefan Zorniger (Team Strassacker) 4:12:10
44 Michael Peters (Zelzer Racing Team) 4:25:58
45 Nick Smith (Nick & Nick) 4:30:05
46 Nick Gatland (Nick & Nick) 4:30:06
47 Romana Fritz-Winter (Team Sportordination) 4:35:34
48 Robert Fritz (Team Sportordination) 4:35:34
49 Pieter Lanssens 4:36:08
50 Luc Van Aelbroeck 4:46:04
51 Roman Pfister (ROMO Cycling Team) 5:06:26
52 Paul Brown (Inparadise) 5:10:53
53 Jodi Brown (Inparadise) 5:10:54
54 Mick Ritchie (Cops at the Croc - Enduro Magazine) 5:19:14
55 Willem Dijk 5:35:32
56 Daniela Rebhan (Steil is geil) 6:17:40
57 Carsten Selbach (Steil is geil) 6:17:40
58 Alexander Onofre Brempel Ballester (Bikepoint Mallorca Racing Team) 7:13:36
59 Kylie Lindsay 7:42:46


 

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