Luke Durbridge and Svein Tuft handily won the Duo Normand, besting the Sky duo of Alex Dowsett and Luke Rowe by over a minute in the two-man time trial in Normandy.
“It’s a unique event in that it’s the only two-man time trial we race during the entire season,” said Durbridge “It’s a good event for me and Svein. We’ve both had really good seasons, and we’re happy to have finished it off this way.”
Durbridge and Tuft covered the 54.5 kilometer course in 1:05:19, 1:03 ahead of Dowsett and Rowe. Jens Voigt and Chris Boardman, riding together for what was then Crédit Agricole, set the course record of 1:04:47 in 1999. Sports Director Lionel Marie had hoped the ORICA-GreenEDGE duo would beat the long-standing record.
“Unfortunately both Svein and I were sick last week, so we came into the race a bit cooked,” said Durbridge. “It’s the last race of the season for us both, so we dug as deep as we could. We wanted to end things this way.”
A relatively flat first half of the course gave way to a rolling second half. Durbridge and Tuft decided to start as fast as possible and then hang on for the finish.
“Svein rode strong today,” noted Durbridge. “I took 1:30-2:00 pulls. His turns were longer by about a minute. Lionel kept us updated on radio times, so we knew we were putting time in on Sky.”
Durbridge noted that he and Tuft did not do any specific two-man training for the event. Instead, they relied on their team time trial and individual time trial training for the World Championships.
“Since Eneco Tour, Svein and I have had the same race program,” explained Durbridge. “We both trained for the team time trial and individual time trial, which was enough time trial training to get us through this event. It’s been only ten days since Worlds, and neither of us have touched our time trial bikes since then until this morning.”
With the time trial done, Durbridge is looking forward to his off-season.
“I fly home to Australia on Tuesday,” he said. “It’s been a great year.”