Swiss mountainbiker Urs Huber produced a magnificent marathon performance to win the most challenging mountain stage ever served up to competitors in Australia’s Crocodile Trophy.
Huber, who was rated by former World and Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens as one of the main contenders for the overall prize, managed to live up to expectation by attacking Brentjens repeat-edly on the final mountain climb of the Crocodile Trophy’s opening 98 kilometre stage from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo.
In the process, the Swiss World Marathon Championship bronze medallist asserted himself as a genuine threat for the General Classification, establishing a lead over Brentjens of just over two minutes on a stage that featured more than 2400 metres of climbing.
“I know this stage today is a stage like in Switzerland with very big hills and I know it’s my day, it’s great to win the first stage here,” Huber said when he reached the finish line at Lake Tinaroo.
“I saw on the first climb that I’m very strong, but after that there came 30 kilometre flats and it was not good to be alone, so I wait for Bart and we worked together.”
On the final 1200 metre climb of Mout Edith, the highest dirt road in Queensland, Huber launched a series of spirited attacks. Brentjens responded, once, then twice, but on the third occasion, The Great Dutchman’s age won out over his eternally youthful spirit.
“Yeah he attacked actually already in the beginning but then I came back easily,” Brentjens said.
“There was the big climb coming at the end, he knows it, I know it as well and he attacked actually at the bottom.”