- Luke Durbridge
August 31, 2012, 0:23 BST,
August 31, 2012, 1:24 BST
Repaying the faith of teammates at Tour du Poitou-Charentes
It's been a great couple of weeks racing and now, since that block, I'm back to training leading into the 2012 Road World Championships and the last couple of races of my season. Training for worlds began after Eneco I started concentrating on TTs and also changed up my routine a little, riding up in Andorra for a bit. I came out with good legs so I went into Tour du Poitou-Charentes pretty confident.
The team has been great to me for my first season; they've given me races that I can develop myself on - Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, De Panne and then doing Charentes. All these races I have been able to put myself into a good position with the TT then have the support of the team to ride a good GC.
This time at Charentes it was a little bit different to Sarthe where I came in as the underdog and no one really knew me, there was no pressure and I only had three teammates. This week, knowing I could possibly win the TT, there was a big possibility that I could win overall if I didn't lose any time. That meant I had seven guys in front of me all working in the wind to keep me out of it. I felt a bit more pressure than past races but I took that on board and managed to come out with a good TT. The day after, that was a bit harder than what we expected. The peloton split in half and I only had three teammates in the front group with me, so I was a bit nervous on the way to the line, but we managed to keep time and even end up 4th in the stage. It felt really good to be able to repay the faith you get from your teammates by being able to pull off the win - they'd worked hard all week.
One of the biggest changes I've experienced this season with Orica-GreenEdge from racing previously with Jayco-AIS is after the result, you savour it for what it is and then move straight on to the next objective. For me, that is the world championships in Limburg in September, so I'll just be staying in Girona until then and concentrating on my training.
I've been named in the long list for Australia for just the TT, so I'm hoping for one of the two spots. It will be my first year competing at the elite level but I think I've proven this year that I can be up there, that said, I won't count my chickens before they hatch. I'm going to the worlds to compete in the team time trial for GreenEdge anyway so I'm actually preparing for the team event with the individual in mind as well.
The course is rolling, and this year it's point-to-point rather than a circuit. Sometimes with a circuit, it's easier to gage your effort but on a point-to-point course, you need to know it well to get your pacing right. That means getting footage of the course over the next few weeks and studying hard!
After the worlds I'm racing Duo Normand, which is a two-up time trial with Svein Tuft and I'm really looking forward to that! I think racing a TT with Svein will be extremely painful, so not exactly fun in the true sense of the word, but fun seeing as I haven't done a pairs TT since U17 Road Nationals! We're hoping for a good result because we both have strength in that area and will have been training together for worlds so we'll know each other pretty well.
That TT will be my last race in Europe for the season and it'll be great to head back to Australia for a break after that. Tour of Hangzhou was scheduled to be my last race but we've just learnt it's been cancelled so I'll be staying in Australia resting the legs for a bit before I get back into it for the start of next year.
It's been a long season for me - I started racing in January and being my first time at this level, especially purely on the road, it's a lot different to past years - I've always had the track and a few breaks along the way to change it up. This year I did have a mid-year break and saw a bit more of Europe than what you get to see when you're racing, so that was great and I was refreshed for the second half of this year. And hey, it's gone well so far. Now I have three weeks left of hard training in the lead up to the worlds. Going to be my first as at elite level so looking forward to it.
- Luke Durbridge
May 11, 2012, 22:00 BST,
May 11, 2012, 11:59 BST
Luke reflects on a busy few months as a full-time road professional
It's been a while since I've thrown one of these together – but there's been a lot happening. I've just got back from the Tour of Romandie which was my first mountainous race for the year – that was pretty tough.
It's been a pretty full-on start to the season. Once I stopped racing track I just thought ‘right, time to knuckle down'. It wasn't that I hadn't been prior, but I just realised it was time to give road a really good crack and see how I can go.
I've had to juggle a few niggling injuries along the way, probably because I've been a little bit too motivated and got into it a bit too fast - that resulted in a little bit of tendonitis in my Achilles. It's getting better now but I had to nurse it through the races. At Three Days of De Panne I got eighth in the time trial and seventh overall and then went and won the time trial at Sarthe along with the overall. The racing in Belgium was tough, I'll admit, but I was blessed with the weather – normally there's rain and wind. The first stage was 220 kilometres and I rode terrible position all day. I finished in the front 50 or so but I felt like I'd done a 230km TT. I looked around and I don't think any of the others found it that hard. It's all about positioning in Belgium! But you learn...
There have been no regrets about my decision to focus solely on the road. I'd love to be in the team, it's something that I did for three years and it would have been great to go to the Olympic Games and win gold with the guys but it's not to be. I gave it a go, and didn't make it. I watched the guys' efforts at the recent Track Worlds and while it wouldn't have been nice to take the silver medal in front of the Melbourne crowd, I reckon it's going to give them even more motivation to win gold in London.
One of the biggest challenges is the continual focus that you need for the road throughout the season. On the track, you train for six weeks and then you have one event and then you can mentally switch off. On the road, it's on-going. You might do 50-80 race days in a year and you're always thinking about the next one. It can be hard. The other thing I've noticed in the mid-tour time trial. It's a totally different story that going into a chrono completely fresh. I think I'm handling then alright though; it's only early in the season so hopefully there's room to improve.
The next race for me is the Tour of California and I'll head to the US this week. It's a big one for Orica GreenEdge. It will be the team's first race in the States and I haven't raced there before either. Robbie McEwen will be racing for the last time and I'm sure he'll be super-motivated like he always is. Hopefully we can get him in good position to get to the finish. I'm really looking forward to the race. There's a 30km time trial so I'm really focussing on that, along with helping Cam Meyer for GC along with Robbie and Leigh Howard for some sprints.
- Luke Durbridge
January 02, 2012, 23:42 GMT,
January 05, 2012, 4:22 GMT
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.
- Luke Durbridge
Western Australia's Luke Durbridge is a man on a mission in 2012, having signed on as a neo pro for GreenEdge in their debut season in the UCI WorldTour ranks while wearing the rainbow jersey of the under 23 World Time Trial Champion from Copenhagen. Add to that the fact that the 20-year-old is a member of Australia's world champion team pursuit and Durbridge has quite a task ahead of him in the season ahead – a fact that makes this rider one to watch.