The 2014 season was a first for Luke Durbridge since turning professional in 2012 with Orica-GreenEdge. The 23-year-old spent the whole year racing in his normal trade team kit. In his neo-pro season of 2012, Durbridge was the national time trial champion but then went one better in 2013 as he became a double national champion in the road race and time trial, wearing the green and gold national champions jersey in every race bar team time trials.
In January of this year, Durbridge was beaten by teammate Michael Hepburn to a third national title on the flat roads of Burrumbeet and then helped teammate Simon Gerrans win the road race resulting him leaving the nationals without a win to his name.
Durbridge is hungry to get his time trial title back at the Australian national champions in January and a change in the parcours to a far lumpier profile than recent years isn't keeping him up at night, explaining that it will be condition and not the course that decides the winner.
"I am not phased," Durbridge told Cyclingnews about the changes to the course. "At that time of year, the course is irrelevant unless it's a complete uphill. If you're on form, you'll have a good time trial. If you're not, you're not [going to have a good ride]."
The new 40.6km time trial course in Buninyong hardly features a flat metre of road with the turnaround point taking place in the shadows of a wind farm while a small climb book ends the race, ensuring a deserving winner will emerge. While it may be challenging, it is a far from technical affair with only a handful of corners to be navigated.
"All it is, is a an out and back, if it was quite a technical course, then sure you have to know it but it's really just about having your head down for 40km," he said of what is required to claim the win
A former U23 world time trial champion, Durbridge has also won races against the clock at the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné, Circuit cycliste Sarthe-Pays de la Loire, Tour du Poitou Charentes, Duo Normand (twice) and in 2014 added a Giro d'Italia team time trial win to his palmares.
Challenging Durbridge for the title will be a 'world class' field of time trial specialists headlined by three time world champion Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), current U23 world champion Campbell Flakemore (BMC), former U23 world champion Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEdge) along with former national champions Cameron Meyer, Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge) and Jack Bobridge (BudgetForklifts).
Add Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Rohan Dennis (BMC) to that list and Durbridge will need to be on the top of his game to claim win number three.
However, Durbridge is confident some off-season adjustments to his time trialling position will see him return to the top step and pull on the green and gold jersey.
"I've done a lot of work in the wind tunnel, I've dialled down my position and certain training aspects that I am doing will hopefully bring that back up to where it can be because I think I was lacking that this year," he explained.