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In His Own Words: Luke Durbridge on the Poitou Charentes Double Day

Thu 29 Aug 2013

Last year, Luke Durbridge won the Tour of Poitou Charentes individual time trial to move into the general classification lead. By the end of the four day, five stage race, he had claimed the overall victory. He hoped to repeat the feat this year.

Durbridge’s ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates spent the first three road stages keeping him well-positioned and out of trouble, allowing him to stay safe in the bunch and conserve ahead of his important goal, winning the time trial. The 22-year-old started the afternoon stage of the Poitou Charentes confident that his goal was within reach.

Although the Australian outfit put four riders in the top 20 on the stage, Durbridge’s time trial went far from plan. Contending with mechanical issues and an unfamiliar bike, the Australian National Time Trial Champion managed fifth place on the stage, 29” behind stage four winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

The result slots Durbridge into fifth overall, 40” behind Voeckler, who moved into the race lead. Only three seconds separate Durbridge from the overall podium ahead of the final stage of racing. Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha) sits in second at 26" while Gustav Larsson (IAM) and Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) are tied on time at 37” in third and fourth place.

In his own words, Durbridge tells you about his day.

The morning road stage was short and straightforward. One guy went away. We worked with a few other teams to control the break and keep everything together for a sprint. Like the first two road stages, it was pretty dangerous in the end. It was an easy start that cranked up to a hectic final.

The boys did a great job keeping me and Heppy [Michael Hepburn] out of trouble. They put us in a good position with 3km left to race, and they let us take it from there. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) took his third straight stage win. Heppy and I finished on bunch time and immediately turned our focus to the time trial.

I had a rough start to my time trial. When I was warming up, I began to have gear trouble and the mechanical issues continued from there. We didn’t have enough time to sort things out, so five minutes before my start, I found myself sitting on the start line on my road bike.

Inside a minute of my start time, I had to jump on Jens Mouris’ bike. We put the seat down quickly, and that was the only adjustment we had time to make before I had to take off or miss my start. I had no power meter or any indication of speed. Not only did all the issues before my start mess with my mental preparation, I had no way to gauge my effort, which was a huge challenge.

It’s very, very difficult to ride a bike that’s too big for you. I’m happy I got the result I did considering the things that went wrong, but I know I could have gone much better, so it’s difficult not be disappointed about that.

I went out really hard, and I was the fastest when I went through the first time check. Only Voeckler, who came after me, managed to put in a faster time at the intermediate split. I was right around the mark in the first half even on a borrowed bike. I know I could have done so much more on my own.

My goal was to come here and have a good time trial, and while I’m happy with my ride, it still feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Today was important for my objectives with this race and in terms selections for the World Championships. It didn’t go the way I needed it go.

All that said, I’m in the best young rider’s jersey and I’m only a handful of seconds away from the overall podium. There’s still a chance I can make up time and leap-frog up the general classification. That’s what we’ll focus on for tomorrow. There’s one stage left, and we’re ready to make the most of it.

 

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