Feature: Durbridge’s determination through rehab

Mon 9 Oct 2017

Driedaagse de Panne stage winner Luke Durbridge enjoyed a successful start to the season with consistent results and strong performances through the classics period and was all set for his fourth appearance at this year’s Tour de France.

However, the opening prologue stage didn’t quite go as Durbridge had planned. A wet and slippery course in Dusseldorf saw the 26-year-old crash on a corner and damage his ankle, forcing him to withdraw from the race and head for surgery.

“When I crashed I broke some ligaments in the side of my ankle that holds my tendon in place,” Durbridge said. “When I tried to walk or ride my tendon wouldn’t stay in place, so I returned to Girona the next day and I had an operation to pin my ligaments back to the bone to hold the tendon in place.”

“This meant I had to wear a ´moon´ boot for three weeks and wait six weeks until I would be able to ride properly again. 

“We were kind of in the unknown for the recovery time as it's not a very common cyclist injury.” 

Despite being disappointed, having a serious mid-season injury, the Perth rider remained positive and motivated and quickly got stuck into rehab allowing him to make a rapid recovery.

“The recovery period went very quickly,” Durbridge continued. “It was really hard to watch the Tour de France from the couch but I made the most of the time I had at home.”

“I started swimming two to three kilometres a day just 12 days after the operation. I'm not a big fan of swimming but it passed the time and let me expend some energy so I was not a miserable person to be around, as most cyclist are when they can't ride their bikes. 

“After another two weeks I stared using Zwift, the online training system which Mat Hayman famously used in his period prior to his Paris-Roubaix win. 

“I really enjoyed it and it made the countless hours on the home trainer pass quickly.”

After enduring weeks of indoor training and swimming, the former Australian time trial and road race champion was eager to get back outdoors and train on the road and after such an impressive, rapid recovery Durbridge was able to return to racing just eight weeks after his operation.

“After six weeks I was finally able to go training on the road once again and it was an amazing feeling,” said Durbridge. “It really made me realise and appreciate how lucky I am to normally be able to ride everyday on the road.”

“Only two weeks later I was back racing at the OVO Tour of Britain. I was under no pressure other than to just try and get through the race, so when I arrived with a solid tenth place in the individual time trial I was pretty surprised. 

“That was a nice reward to show I didn't waste my recovery period.”

After returning to racing at a high level, Durbridge was satisfied with his rehab efforts and went on to race for ORICA-SCOTT in the world championship team time trial event.

“With this kind of an injury it is almost a constant six month period of rehab to get back to full range of movement,” Durbridge explained. “The next goal for me now is to be able to do some cross training like running during the off-season.”

“So fingers crossed that I will have a full range of movement to be able to do that and I am already looking forward to a better 2018 season.”

Photo courtesy of TDWsport