• Greg Saw will hope to defend his 2014 Crocodile Trophy title (Kenneth Lorentsen)Source: Kenneth Lorentsen
Iconic Australian mountain bike stage race the Crocodile Trophy is ready to roll out from Cairns, Queensland on Saturday
Cycling Central

Cycling Central
13 Oct 2015 - 12:41 PM 

The "Croc" has smoothed off some of its rough edges and now comes with valuable UCI ranking points for participants but it still remains one of the toughest events for any rider to attempt.

As usual the tropical region of far North Queensland hosts the 700km long playing field from Cairns to Port Douglas with transplanted Australian Greg Saw returning to defend his title.

"My first Crocodile Trophy was intense and I expect it will be even more this year," Saw said. "Like last year I will do my best to be in race shape.

"Maybe I will enjoy the racing more if I am chasing the leader and not defending for seven long days. When I see that start list I will know more."

The nine days of racing from Cairns crosses the Atherton Tablelands, Skybury Coffee Plantation and Wetherby Station to Port Douglas, featuring jungle, single track, river crossings, steep climbs, fast descents and old Outback mining towns.

The elite field has deepened for 2015 and chasing Saw for the title will be Australian marathon champion Brendan Johnston, two-time "Croc" championS Urs Huber (SUI) and Ondrej Foitek (CZE), Soren Nissen from Denmark, Italian marathon champion Nicholas Pettinà, David Rosa from Portugal and nine-time Israeli national champion Rotem Ishay.

The race will also have its first ever para-athlete in Belgium's Arnout Matthys, in the mix with over 100 other adventurous riders.

Cycling Central will feature daily online highlights from the Crocodile Trophy.