Luke Durbridge Time Trials into Circuit Sarthe Race LeadThu 4 Apr 2013
He did it again. Australian Double National Champion Luke Durbridge won the afternoon time trial at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe to move into the race leader’s jersey. The defending champion took the overall victory in France last year after he time trialed into the race lead. Having once again moved into the yellow jersey by virtue of his time trial win, Durbridge is fully confident in ORICA-GreenEDGE’s ability to support a repeat general classification victory.
“The next two road stages are a bit more difficult than the last two stages last year,” said Durbridge. “It’s not ideal, but I think my road condition is better than last year. I’m going in with every intention to defend the jersey until the finish. We have options to play with Cam Meyer down by 1” in third overall, and Svein [Tuft] is only 4” behind.”
The 6.8 kilometre third stage time trial was identical to the course used last year.
“It’s an out and back course that is slightly uphill for the first half,” explained Durbridge. “Because of the uphill start, you have to come out of the block firing on all cylinders. It’s a straight shoot up this little bit of a rise, and once we get to the top, there’s a slightly technical bit before we turn around and head slightly downhill to the finish.”
Durbridge covered the course in 8’18”, stopping the clock less than 1" quicker than Bob Jungels (RadioShack-Leopard-Trek) and Meyer.
“I won by .17 of a second,” said Durbridge. “.17 of a second or 17 seconds – it doesn’t matter. A win is a win, and I’m happy for this victory today. My teammates did a really good job looking after me, keeping me out of the wind and saving me from using excess energy. Thanks to their efforts, I was able to stay fresh for the time trial and pull of the win."
Durbridge recognises that some of the stiffest competition he faced came from within his team. He considers this one of the team’s biggest strengths.
“The team had great rides not only by me but also by Cam, Svein and Heppy [Michael Hepburn],” said Durbridge. “We’re all in great condition, but today I was just a little bit better than them. I got the victory today. Another day it could easily be one of them beating me.”
“We obviously have a team full of strong time trialists,” he continued. “It’s not necessarily something we’re competitive about amongst each other. We really are genuinely happy to see our teammates go well. More than anything, I think our time trialing abilities show that we have a strong team. The time trial is a difficult test of physical and mental strength. With so many riders able to test themselves well in the time trial, it shows we have a strong team capable of going well in other races, too.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE will look to use these capabilities to defend Durbridge’s jersey during the final two stages.
“Having Cam and Svein close to me on the overall is to our advantage,” said Durbridge. “We can send one of them up the road to take the pressure off the rest of us. We have options, and we’ll discuss all of them in our team meeting.”
“Tonight, I’m going to enjoy the victory,” he added. “Tomorrow, we’ll worry about tomorrow.”
Note: We originally reported that Durbridge had won by seven-tenths of a second as opposed to seventeen-hundredths of a second. The error stemmed from a misunderstanding during the phone interview with Durbridge. The quote above has been modified since its original publication to include the statement Durbridge originally gave. We apologise for the initial error.