Czechs win fifth consecutive stage
Czech team VIG+ racing made it five straight stage victories from five attempts today as Ivan Rybarik scored his second stage win at the Crocodile Trophy of 2008.
With the leaders in the general classification taking it easy during today’s 99 kilometre “out and back” stage from Chillagoe, VIG+ racing showed its incredible depth at this year’s outback classic by stealing a stage victory with two of its domestiques.
Things didn’t exactly go to plan for the Czechs, when the man chosen to storm to a stage victory, Kejval Lubos, failed to deliver on a course suited to pure time trialists. Instead it was left to his helper Ivan Rybarik, to blow away the opposition.
“I was supposed to be here as the domestique for Lubos, but now you see the result,” Rybarik said. “I am so happy that I have won the boomerang (the prize for the stage winner) here today.”
There was good news also for Australia and Austria with Merida Flight Centre’s Adrian Jackson fighting his way into second place and Austrian Alfred Schabauer third.
Rybarik, Jackson, Lubos and Schabauer were all part of a seven man breakaway which went up the road at the ten kilometre mark of today’s stage. The first to drop away as the pace lifted was Darren O’grady, but the other six held on until the last twenty kilometres.
“You wouldn’t believe how fast the pace was,” O’Grady commented at stage end. “The Czechs wanted the stage win and I was trying to hang on.”
One by one, the group dwindled until just Rybarik, Jackson and Schabauer were left in the hunt for the stage. It seemed almost inevitable that an attack would come from Rybarik and when it did, as has been the case for every day of this race, there was no answer to the Czech dominance.
“Three kilometres before the finish, Rybarik attacked, it split up and then we rode alone,” Schabauer recounted. “It was hard this stage and I’m very, very lucky to be third in the finish."
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A hard fought stage win by Trunschka - his second in three days, ably supported by overall race leader Fojtik, solidified the winning position for the Czechs at the 2008 Crocodile Trophy in Australia’s remote Tropical North.
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.