Durbridge lights up Giro d'Italia finale, OGE leave with 2 stage wins & 4 days in pink

Sun 31 May 2015

Former Australian champion Luke Durbridge has finished second on the final stage of the Giro d’Italia having attacked as part of a duo to spice up the last day of racing.

The three-week Tour was expected to wrap up in a bunch sprint today and for the first 150km that looked to be the case.

But eager to get amongst the action for one last time, ORICA-GreenEDGE sent Durbridge up the road, alongside Iljo Keisse (Ettix – Quickstep), on the local finishing circuits.

With punctures and a lack of organisation in the peloton, and the teamwork and determination shown by the lead duo, they held off the chase, Keisse the victor.

“We were always going to try,” sport director Matt White said. “We tried, and it very nearly came off.”

“Keisse is one of the best six-day riders in the world and in combination with Luke who is a time trial guru, it was a very good combination.

“We knew the circuit was tight and that it would be hard to organise a chase and there was also a few things that went in our favour in terms of certain guys puncturing and the like.”

Today’s exciting stage wrapped up the 2015 Giro d’Italia, ORICA-GreenEDGE leaving the Italian grand tour with two stage wins, three podiums and four days in the pink leader’s jersey.

Three-weeks ago, and following the success of last year, the Australian outfit entered the first grand tour of 2015 with high ambitions of multiple stage wins and a stint in the Maglia Rosa. Mission accomplished.

“As I always say, it’s one thing to have goals and another thing to have the team to be able to achieve them,” White said. “But to have the Giro we have had, two years in a row, is very satisfying and all of the guys should be very proud.”

“People feel pressure when they don’t think they can achieve the end goal. When you are confident in the working group, confident in each other and confident in the work you have done that is a different type of pressure and something our team can handle.

“We know what we are capable of doing. We can’t win the Tour de France at the moment, we can’t win the Giro d’Italia at the moment, but what we can win is certain targets and that is a real strength of our team and our athletes.”

Initial success came on the opening stage in Sanremo, as ORICA-GreenEDGE perfectly executed their team time trial to secure the first major objective of the race.

Crossing the line first, 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege champion Simon Gerrans had initial honours in the coveted leader’s jersey.  After stage two, it changed hands to Michael Matthews who went on to claim stage three during his two-day reign.

Finishing second behind a solo winner on stage four, 2012 Vuelta a Espana stage winner, Simon Clarke became the third ORICA-GreenEDGE team member to pull on the jersey before Alberto Contador (Tinkoff – Saxo) began a reign that would last all but one stage in his journey to overall victory in Milan.