Act of sportsmanship in popular Czech victory

Czech team continued its complete dominance with Martin Horak scoring his first stage win and fourth consecutive stage win for his team as the off-road classic reached the Australian outback town of Chillagoe.

Hertsens and Horak.  Copyright: Crocodile TrophyThe victory will be remembered for all the right reasons, with Horak, in the most sporting of gestures, rendering assistance when his breakaway partner, Kristof Hertsens of Belgium crashed.

Hertsens was left bloodied and suffered a deep cut to his elbow after hitting the deck on a technical off-road section of today’s epic 143 kilometre stage, that started on the coolest of Crocodile Trophy mornings at glorious Gunnawarra lagoon.

In a move that ultimately cost him the lead in the General Classification, Horak assisted Hertsens with repairing his damaged bike and checked on the Belgian’s injuries, before riding alongside him to the finish line. The story of Hertsens and Horak is, in time, sure to take its place in Crocodile Trophy history as one of the great moments of the race.

After being the lead conspirator in a breakaway move that went virtually from the gun, Hertsens (Team Lingier) was happy to settle for second place against the clearly superior Czech – a man for whom he now has the utmost respect.

“I crashed really, really bad and he was coming back and he fixed my bike,” Hertsens said. “He then rode in the front and he stayed with me. He was really strong and when he attacked, I could not go with him, but he stayed with me, so I am very happy to finish second.”

Horak’s selfless act cost him valuable minutes and saw him finish the day 39 seconds behind teammate Ondrej Fojtik in the General Classifications.

Until now the only question has been, who of the three Czechs - Fojtik, Trunschka and Horak will lead the Team VIG+ in its quest for ultimate glory in Cape Tribulation?

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