Over the rainbow and into the great unknown

Durbridge gives his take on a breakout year, and the new territory ahead

After a good break over Christmas with my family down at the famed Margaret River, I’m heading into 2012 as reigning Under 23 World Time Trial Champion, Team Pursuit World Champion, and as a GreenEdge neo pro – not bad at all.

With the weather so good, I’ve been able to get plenty of training in along with Cameron and Travis Meyer and I think we’re all coming up really well – but I’m really looking forward to actually getting into some racing. I’ve had a bit to juggle though between my preparations for my short Australian road season and then with an eye to the London Olympic Games. So while I’ve had some long road rides I’ve also done some shorter efforts for the track. For me, it’s all about London so I didn’t look for as big of a road base as I normally would; I concentrated more on my track stuff.

So with that in mind it will be interesting how I pull up at the road nationals. I’ve never done Bay Crits before either. It’s going into no man’s land; it is new territory for me so hopefully it all comes out for the best.

I am really looking forward to be back on the road again though, I haven’t raced since Copenhagen. Crits are great fun, and always really, really aggressive. The thing with the Bay Crits that I’ve heard from a lot of people is that it’s very, very hard to get to the front, so hopefully I can get myself into a good position off the front and race and aggressive race like I would love to do. I’ll be playing it by ear. I love it, even though I’m not necessarily suited to it.

I did a club crit the other week and I had forgotten how hard they are. So we’ll see how I go at Bay Crits.

It’s not one of the things that I focus on but it’s a summer thing that we do in Australia. Most people race Bay Crits or club crits or the Launceston International over the summer, but as soon as we leave for Europe, no one races a crit. It’s one of those things that you do to get some form up over summer, they’re short and sharp. But I’m never going to be someone that puts all their efforts into the Bay Crits.
That leads me to the Australian Road Championships later in the week. My best chance for a result will be in the time trial but it depends on what my job will be in the road race. What I do in the time trial is up to me, but the road race will come down to the team’s objectives. I’ve just got to do my job for the team, get in a breakaway and then who knows. The last few years the road nationals have been won by the breakaway but anything can happen.

There’s added pressure there as under 23 world champion when it comes to racing the elite time trial. It will be the first time in there against the big guys, and it’s a chance to see what you’re really made of. But I think there would be more pressure if I raced the under 23 again and had to win again.

All the pressure should be on the older guys who’ve performed in international time trials like Cameron Meyer, Michael Rogers and Richie Porte. I’ll go in and give it a bit of a shot, as a bit of a wildcard and not put any pressure on myself and just give it a good crack.

It’s probably going to be one of the hottest contest time trials that I’ve seen at the nationals for a while – on top of the guys I mentioned before, there’s also Adam Hansen, Jack Bobridge, and the guy who was on the podium with me in Copenhagen, Michael Hepburn.
I go straight from the road nationals to a training camp in Bright with GreenEdge and then I’m back into Adelaide for the London World Cup camp for the track – that should be interesting because we’ll learn a lot from the London World Cup being the Olympic venue as well. After London I’ll be home for a week then I’m back into track in the lead up to the World Championships. It’s going to be a massive year.

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