Huber sprints to victory in Atherton: Stage win on day 4; Pirard takes over women's lead

By Rocky Trail Media

Tuesday's fourth stage was a marathon through the Herberton State Forest with start and finish in Atherton - we're at the half-way mark of the Crocodile Trophy 2016 with two long marathon stages coming up towards Skybury.
Urs Huber, Sebastien Carabin and Matthias Grick at a river crossing in the Herberton State Forest

Urs Huber (SUI) defends his leader jersey on Tuesday against a persistent Sebastien Carabin (BEL), only 3.1 seconds separate them at the finish. Bas Peters (NED) comes in third (+5:23') ahead of Michiel van Aelbroeck (+7:27') and the Austrian Matthias Grick (+11:37').

In the women's Annemiek van Vleuten had been leading for the majority of the day, but unfortunately took a wrong turn on the course and lost a lot of time. She is now safely back at the finish.

First woman across the line is the Belgian Alice Pirard in 4h44:59.0 ahead of the Australian Ruth Corset and the two amateur women Anita Narula (AUS) and Joanne Koy (AUS). Sarah Kaehler (AUS) is the third elite woman to finish, as fifth woman overall.

Urs Huber (SUI), stage winner and race leader after 4 stages
"The stage was not too difficult but got a bit tight at the 35km mark when I had a flat tyre. Bas Peters just flew past me and Sebastien Carabin went with him. I had to bridge the gap which was about a minute and managed to do so right before the flat part in the middle of the stage. Well, I think it wasn't very fair to attack when I had the mechanical, which I told them. Then I had another flat tyre and they waited for me, which I thought was very sportsman-like. Towards the finish Sebastien and I were equally strong, we didn't attack each other anymore and I was actually happy after two flats to being able to stay with him. I was able to claim the stage in a finish sprint."
Sebastien Carabin and Michiel van Aelbroeck

Sebastien Carabin (BEL)
"I was feeling good all day and enjoyed the stage - I'm content that I could stay in the lead group and not loose any time in the overall classification."
Bas Peters (NED)
"I had at two stages a flat tires the first two stages, but today I had finally good luck and I thought I will go for it. So I tried to follow the two guys, but the last 15km I couldn´t follow them anymore. So I try to survived for the third place and that went out quiet well. I succeeded.

"I wanted to try for the podium in the GC, but because of the two flat tires I have no more chance for the podium. So I will try to get again on the podium for a stage win and try to enjoy the Crocodile Trophy.
"It is an event I always wanted to do because I did all the big mtb events before accept this one, so I thought this year I will ride it. And I have to enjoy it now. As coming from cross-country I normally prefer the technical stages but I can handle everything."
Bas Peters

Alice Pirard (BEL)
"I'm surprised that Annemiek is not here, she must have taken a wrong turn or crashed, because I heard during the race that she had a big gap, like 15 or 20 minutes. I hope she's ok and that she will come soon. 

"For me it was a hard day, I was kind of in survival mode because I'm getting tired... just surviving in the forest. I did enjoy the last singletrack downhill though, that was really nice. We'll see.

"The next stages coming up are all really fast and rolling, which doesn't suit me generally, because I like the technical stages, but well, I'm so tired and in survival mode right now." 
Bad luck for Annemiek van Vleuten

Elite Men:
1.#11Urs HUBER (Team Bulls)SUI3h28:17.8 
2.#1Sebastien CARABIN (merida wallonie-Vojo Mag) / BEL / 3h28:20.9+3.1 
3.#3Bas PETERS (MijnBadLiv/Giant offroad team) / NED / 3h33:41.6 +5:23.8 
4.#4Michiel VAN AELBROECK ( / BEL / 3h35:44.8+7:27.0
5.#2Matthias GRICK (KTM Ebner Transporte Cycling Team Graz) / AUT / 3h39:55.4+11:37.6 

Elite Women:
1. #21Alice PIRARD (Merida-Wallonie MTB Team) / BEL / 4h44:59.0
2. #25Ruth CORSET4h54:49.8  +9:50.8
3. #23Sarah KAEHLER (Astute Financial Racing Team) / AUS / 5h46:40.2 

Elite Men:
1. #11 Urs HUBER (Team Bulls) / SUI / 12h49:51.1 
2. #1 Sebastien CARABIN (merida wallonie-Vojo Mag) / BEL / 12h51:31.8+1:40.7
3. #4 Michiel VAN AELBROECK ( / BEL / 13h36:20.6+46:29.5 
4. #3 Bas PETERS (MijnBadLiv/Giant offroad team) / NED / 13h40:26.6+50:35.5 
5. #10 Manuel PLIEM (Team KTM-RAD.SPORT.SZENE) / AUT / 13h45:04.4+55:13.3

Elite Women - preliminary:
1. #21 Alice PIRARD (Merida-Wallonie MTB Team) / BEL / 17h02:43.7
2. #22 Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN (Orica-AIS / Scott) / NED / 18h17:05.4+1h14:21.7
3. #25 Ruth CORSET / AUS / 18h19:37.6+1h16:53.9 
4. #23 Sarah KAEHLER (Astute Financial Racing Team) / AUS / 19h57:30.5+2h54:46.8
Alice Pirard takes over the women's race lead
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