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Durbridge takes a valiant fourth after an impressive ride at Dwars door Vlaanderen

Wed 22 Mar 2017

A superb performance from Luke Durbridge nearly paid dividends for ORICA-SCOTT at Dwars door Vlaanderen today, with the in form Australian crossing the line in fourth place, a hairs breadth off the podium after an outstanding ride.

An attack filled race saw the early breakaway caught with around 75kilometres to go after a move by Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) created an elite selection of over twenty riders that included Durbridge and road captain Mathew Hayman.

The group pushed on until a second attack by Gilbert on the final part of the Paterberg split the group and created the winning quartet.

Durbridge looked good and despite losing Hayman, the 25-year-old produced a strong ride as the group kept the chasers at bay, the advantage however was with Gilbert and Quick-Step Floors teammate Yves Lampaert.

Exchanging attacks into the finale, the two teammates looked to gain the upper hand and it was Lampaert who rode away to the victory as Durbridge valiantly kept up the chase to claim fourth.

“We knew that Luke was in good condition and had produced some strong performances of late,” said Sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “And he certainly didn’t disappoint today. He is riding at another level and when you have good legs you tend to make the right decisions at the key moments of the race.”

“I was a little concerned about whether he may still be suffering from the sickness at Tirreno-Adriatico, but there was no problems today. The whole team was great and when Luke and Mathew made the jump with the attack of Gilbert we knew we had a chance.

“Luke was maybe the strongest rider in the race today, but was up against it in the final with the two guys from Quick-Step, but we can have no complaints he rode a great race and can take that confidence forward now.

“The team is ready, we have a very tough period coming up and I am really pleased with our attitude and our condition, we’re looking forward to E3 Harelbeke on Friday now and Gent Wevelgem on Sunday.”

How it happened:

A sunny yet blustery morning welcomed the riders to the start in Roeselare for the 72nd Dwars door Vlaanderen today and holding true to tradition an early breakaway went clear inside the first hour of racing.

Six riders formed the group and after 60kilometres of racing had over five minutes on the peloton.

The strong wind was playing a significant role in proceedings and at the halfway point the gap to the leaders had been halved, standing at three minutes with 100kilometres to go.

Twenty-five kilometres later and an attack by Gilbert was followed by around twenty riders including Durbridge and Hayman, the group immediately caught, then passed the earlier breakaway.

The Gilbert group held a lead of 40seconds with 45kilometres remaining and a reduced peloton of fifty riders chasing hard behind.

Flying over the cobbles and climbs the leaders stretched their advantage out past one minute before the group started to split on the slopes of the Paterberg.

Durbridge made the cut again after a second attack from Gilbert created a select quartet with Durbridge, Lampaert and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) the only riders able to follow.

The race was on, with the gap holding at around one minute 20seconds and the leaders maintaining a high speed with Durbridge working hard to counter the punches thrown by the Quick-Step Floors duo.

With five kilometres to go Lampaert attacked and it proved to be the killer blow, gaining nearly 40seconds and Gilbert happy to let his teammate push on, it was left to Durbridge again to pick up the chase.

In the end it was close, Lampaert held out for the victory with Durbridge somewhat cruelly beaten into fourth place after a truly impressive ride.

Dwars door Vlaanderen results:

1. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) 04:47:26

2. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) 00:00:39

3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) ST

4. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-SCOTT) ST

Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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