The “Ivanator” Rybarik is back!

Today the first stage of the Crocodile Trophy UCI S1 stage race was held in Cairns’ Smithfield MTB Park. In one of the strongest fields of the event’s history, the 2012 Crocodile Trophy Champion Ivan Rybarik from the Czech Republic won the Elite Men’s category ahead of Spain’s Milton Ramos and Greg Saw from Norway. Sydney’s Imogen Smith was the fastest woman of the day and Ondrej Slezak took out the Australian leader’s jersey.

IvanRibaricRaceStart_20141018_29152

2012 champion, Ivan “Ivanator” Rybarik rode a strong race today – Photo | Kenneth Lorentsen

Almost 100 riders were at the start at the Smithfield MTB Park today and amongst them were 22 riders that had signed up for the official UCI Elite Men’s and Women’s categories. After a clear victory at the 2012 Crocodile Trophy, Ivan Rybarik who then received the nickname “Ivanator” for his strong performance especially on the steep hill climbs, was able to stand his ground with a race time of 1h36:11.54, even in the high-profile Elite Men’s field that was seeded with UCI marathon title holders from around the world.

“I felt good today – a lot has changed [over the past two years], my wife and I have two small children now, so I wasn’t able to prepare myself as thoroughly as in 2012”, said a surprised, yet confident Rybarik today. “Tomorrow this race starts for real, there are almost 100km and over 2200m of climbing between us and Lake Tinaroo”, he said of tomorrow’s second stage, which will lead the riders out of the tropical City of Cairns onto the Atherton Tablelands.

LeaderJerseys-Stage1_29444_byKennethLorentsen

The leader jersey podium of Stage 1 (l-r): Michal Kafka (Amateur), Ivan Rybarik (Overall), Ondrej Slezak (Best Australian), Imogen Smith (Women’s), Guido Thaler (Best Austrian). – Photo | Kenneth Lorentsen

New Aussie gets leader jersey, favourites struggle

In a major upset in the Elite Men’s category, the Portugese Olympian David Rosa suffered from a severe mechanical issue two laps into the race. He had been hot on Rybarik’s wheel for two laps and having to walk most of the remaining race he then dropped into last place. Milton Ramos from Spain caught up and crossed the finish line with a gap of +43.33 seconds as second ahead of Greg Saw from Kongsberg in Norway.

Yuki Ikeda was fifth behind the Dutch marathon racer and Noordwijk beach race winner, Ramses Bekkenk, and was satisfied with today’s placing. “Hey, this was my first XC race of the year, tomorrow I’ll be more in my element”, the reigninig Japanese National Marathon Champion said of the short first stage. Last year’s runner-up Cory Wallace was disappointed with a seventh place behind today’s best Australian, Ondrej Slezak. “I’ve just been on the road a lot lately, but tomorrow’s a new day”, the Canadian National Marathon Champion said confidently.

Slezak, who has immigrated from the Czech Republic and is racing the Crocodile Trophy for the third time just recently had received the Australian Citizenship and was excited to receive the leader’s jersey to represent his new country. “I’m proud to wear this Australian leader’s jersey – I’m here with a team of eight riders and Ivan [Rybarik] just got us the race lead, Michal [Kafka] and Andrew [Lloyd] are leading their age classifications as well – I couldn’t be happier right now”, the avid mountain bike marathon racer from Sydney beamed at the finish.

Elite Women's podium of Stage 1 (l-r): Jasmin McMillan (AUS), Imogen Smith (AUS). - Photo | Kenneth Loretsen

Elite Women’s podium of Stage 1 (l-r): Jasmin McMillan (AUS), Imogen Smith (AUS). – Photo | Kenneth Loretsen

The fact that a record field of Australians is participating in the Crocodile Trophy this year showed in the podium placings: All amateur classifications were claimed by Australians and with a race time of just over two hours, Imogen Smith from Sydney will be at the start tomorrow, wearing the official Women’s leader jersey.

Stage 2 will be a 85km (97km) marathon with a neutral race start in Cairns at 9:30am to Lake Tinaroo on the Atherton Tablelands. The rider presentation starts at 9:00am at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon.

Milton Ramos

Spain’s Milton Ramos finished in second place on today’s opening stage – Photo | Kenneth Lorentsen

Top Results Stage 1:

Elite Men:

1. Ivan Rybarik (#1) / Jistebnice, CZE / CZE19810812 / Way2live Quantum Racing / 1h36:11.54

2. Milton Ramos (#71) / Sabijanigo, ESP / ESP19791212 / Intense-TowCar / 1h36:53.87 +42.33

3. Greg Saw (#21) / Kongsberg, NOR / NOR19770416 / iHus-Spiuk Norge / 1h37:33.06 +1:21.52

4. Ramses Bekkenk (#5) / Nieuwveen, NED / NED19760727 / Koga KMC / 1h37:51.53 +1:39.99

5. Yuki Ikeda (#6) / Omeshi, JPN / JPN19791015 / Topeak/Ergon/Canyon / 1h38:23.31 +2:11.77

Elite Female:

1. Imogen Smith (#30) / Sydney, AUS / AUS19810203 / Subaru-MarathonMTB.com / 2h05:06.55

2. Jasmin McMillan (#225) / Cairns, AUS / AUS19891125 / Tenni’s Rattle n Hum / 2h12:29.90 +7:23.35

Remaining category winners:

Amateur 1 (<30 yrs): Andrew Lloyd (#53) / Newcastle, AUS / Way2live Quantum Racing / 1h43:52.36

Amateur 2 (30+): Michal Kafka (#70) / Sydney, AUS / Way2live Quantum Racing / 1h43:09.15

Amateur 3 (40+): Jason Chalker (#105) / Canberra, AUS / Vie 13 kustom apparel / 1h43:24.57

Amateur 4 (50+): Garry James (#130) / Canberra, AUS / 1h51:16.11

Amateur Female: Sandra Starke (#119) / AUS / 2h12:35.87

Full results:  http://www.crocodile-trophy.com/index.php?id=142