Durbridge delivers third place at the Tour de Suisse prologue

Sat 11 Jun 2016

Former Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge had an impressive ride today in the Tour de Suisse prologue to finish in a respectable third place.

Durbridge stopped the clock in a blistering time of seven minutes and 40seconds, just two seconds behind the stage winner Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo).

"It was a very pleasing ride for me today," explained Durbridge after his ride. "I've done some work after the classics on my time trial position and also my time trial training, so I was very happy it's all heading in the right direction now and getting back up there in a big prologue like the Tour de Suisse."

"It's a big confidence booster, so I am really pleased with how it went and to start the tour this way.

"I was talking to Sam Bewley before I started and he said you can't really make up a lot of time in the back end, so I went full gas at the start and just tried to hold on as much as I could, it was really helpful advice." 

At the half-way check point Durbridge posted the fastest time, seven seconds clear of the current race leader. With only a handful of riders left to go it was an important start to the short 6.4kilometre race against the clock that in the end secured him a podium spot.

"It was really nice today to have here Luke in great shape," said sport director Neil Stephens after the race. "We were lucky to have Chris Juul-Jensen and Michael Albasini produce good times as that gave us some good time references for Luke who started later on."

"Right from the get go I saw he was on fire, he rode a really aggressive time and really he didn't make any mistakes. Hats off to the two guys that beat him as Luke was a fair way up at the half-way split time. 

"So overall a great day today, it's great to see Luke up there and we are really looking forward now to the next stages."

How it happened:

The conditions for the opening stage consisted of heavy rain showers with the roads constantly wet then drying up only for it to rain again.

As the first riders set off a heavy rain pour started, and with tight corners to navigate on a time trial bike it proved for an eventful day. In total 176 riders lined up and the afternoon showers continued to start and stop leaving different conditions for each of the riders. 

The new fastest times continued to change and with many of the pre-race favourites starting later in the day it was a race right until the end. One-by-one riders continued to stop the clock with the times plummeting down.

One of the first riders to set the bench mark was Reto Lampaert (IAM Cycling) with a time of seven minutes 52seconds leaving him in the hot seat for a significant period.

Further towards the end, Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) jumped into first position with a time of seven minutes 39seconds and soon after as Durbridge set a half-way time seven seconds clear it was all on for a close finish.

Durbridge eventually finished just one second shy of the best time. The two riders waited for the local Swiss rider Cancellara to complete the distance as the rain once again began to fall.

To the local spectators delight the Swiss rider delivered and took the victory with Durbridge shifting down to third just two seconds behind.

Tomorrow, teams will tackle 187.6kilometre stage with the general classification all very close after the short opening stage. Durbridge will wear the blue mountain's jersey for the day.

Tour de Suisse prologue results:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) 7:38
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) +0:01
3. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:02

General classification after stage 1:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) 7:38
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) +0:01
3. Luke Durbridge (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +0:02