Durbridge third and most aggressive in Tour Down Under opening stage

Tue 20 Jan 2015

2013 national road and time trial champion Luke Durbridge has finished third on stage one of the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

The West Australian finished amongst a four-man breakaway that, after a day of cat and mouse with the peloton, surprised many by holding off a fast finishing bunch.  UniSA-Australia’s Jack Bobridge took out the victory to claim the first leader’s jersey.

“I thought it was possible to stay away at the start of the day but I guess when 20km from Checkers Hill we only had 35seconds I thought it was done for sure,” Durbridge said.

“But we know the roads, Jack and I, we used to train around here all the time. We committed and by the time we were at the bottom of the climb we had a minute so we thought it was possible.

“Those roads really favoured us.  There was no wind, there are good protectors and it’s really windy so it makes it difficult for a chase.

“In the final I committed to (Lieuwe) Westra’s wheel and when Jack opened up and got the jump there was not much I could do. My legs were pretty pinned and all I could do was stay on the wheel and hold on.”

Durbridge and Bobridge escaped with Lieuwe Westra (Astana Pro Team) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha) inside the first ten kilometres of racing.

They were kept on a tight leash by an alert peloton led by Team Sky and Team Giant-Alpecin with the gap extended a maximum of 2minutes 30seconds before fluctuating between 30 to 60seconds.

Durbridge took out the second intermediate sprint and was awarded the most aggressive rider for his efforts out front.

By the finish the peloton was breathing down the neck of the break, all given the same finishing time.

Local knowledge proved an advantage in today’s stage, sport director Matt White not hugely surprised by the manner in which the first stage played out.

“The outcome today was not entirely surprising,” White said. “Our guys knew the course and especially with the make up of that group, it’s very difficult to get an organised chase up through the gorge.”

“We did all we could, there wasn’t a better guy for us to put up there.”

Tomorrow’s stage two begins in Unley and travels to Stirling. The journey includes two different circuit laps for a total distance of 150.5km.  The stage includes one classified climb situated within the first 30km, and two intermediate sprints.