Durbo turbos to time trial crown
West Australia’s Luke Durbridge has successfully defended his elite men’s time trial national title at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships.
The Orica GreenEDGE cyclist was the last rider to start the time trial course around Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree completing the 37 kilometres in a time of 43 minutes 26.71 seconds, 21 seconds ahead of Garmin Sharp debutant Rohan Dennis (43:47.98) and a further 45 seconds ahead of teammate Michael Matthews (44:11.85).
“It was a very important race for me today,” said Durbridge.
“I’ll take pride in wearing my national colours over in Europe, so to wear them again in my second year being professional, it just gives me so much motivation,” the 2011 under 23 world champion explained.
“I knew if I didn’t win it would have been a bit of a disappointment.
“I felt a bit of pressure but I think that’s all right, it pretty much comes with the territory and I try to harness that,” said Durbridge, who averaged a blistering speed of 51.1kmph along the way to claiming the victory over a field of 40 starters.
It continues the amazing time trial run from the West Australian over the past twelve months which has included overall victories in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and Circuit de la Sarthe, and the individual time trial prologue at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Durbridge was also part of the ORICA-GreenEDGE team which won bronze in the men’s team time trial UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands.
“When you can really, really, really feel yourself hurting, you know you’re having a good time trial,” explained Durbridge. “It’s the days when you get out there and you don’t feel like you’re hurting that you know you’re not going deep enough.
“When I was half way around the lake I was in the real suffer zone, so I knew today was a good day.”
South Australia’s Rohan Dennis, who claimed both the under 23 time trial and road race titles in 2012, was more than pleased with his silver medal.
“If I had of been on top of the podium today it would have been a dream come true for me,” said Dennis. “But Luke Durbridge is an exceptional rider and to finish second to him is almost as good as winning in most countries.
“I’ve been training really hard for the Road Race in Buninyong so to come away with a medal in the time trial against such a strong field is a real bonus,” Dennis said.
The South Australian claimed victory in the under 23 men’s time trial and road race last year and 2013 marks his maiden year in the professional peloton after signing with Garmin Sharpe.
“I’ve officially retired as a track rider. It’s all about road from now on,” said Dennis. “For me this year is all about learning and growing into a stronger and better rider.”
Michael Matthews claimed bronze on debut for Orica GreenEDGE in front of family and friends with the 22-year-old stating the result had come as a shock.
“I didn’t expect to get on the podium today. I raced as hard as I could and winning a medal was awesome for me as I’m not really a typical time trialler,” Matthews said.
The ACT rider held the lead at the midway point of the race before Dennis and Durbridge crossed the line to move him into the minor placings.
2011 road race national champion Jack Bobridge was caught by Durbridge and finished almost four and a half minutes behind the national champion.
The Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships continue Thursday with the Sturt Street Criterium in the heart of Ballarat.
The under 23 men’s race starts at 4.30pm before under 23 and elite women at 5.45pm. The elite men’s criterium commences at 7pm.