Former under world time trial world champion Luke Durbridge has extended his current two-year neo pro contract with Orica-GreenEdge by another year. The renewed deal will see the current Australian TT champion remain with the squad until the end of 2014.
"I’ve really enjoyed the environment on the team and I appreciate the genuine interest in my development," said Durbridge. "GreenEdge offered the extension, and it made a lot of sense to sign. I get security and the ability to concentrate on more good years with the team."
Durbridge has enjoyed a number of successes in his first year riding in the WorldTour, with seven victories including winning the opening prologue at Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of this year’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky).
"Winning the Dauphiné prologue was a personal highlight for me. I was pretty happy with that win because of the caliber of riders that were there. Winning the national title at the beginning of the year was also very special. I took a lot of pride in wearing the green and the gold all year during my first professional season."
The schedule of races given to Durbridge has allowed the young Australian to target specific events that cater to his speciality; time trialling. This focus has delivered result for both himself and his team.
"The team gave me a good program," Durbridge said. "When I came over from track to road, they were more than happy to have me. They gave me to a good combination of races without loading me down with too heavy of a schedule. That made it possible for me to have some personal opportunities."
He’s showcased his ability to handle racing at the top level by the steady stream of results from January, where he won the national TT championships, the overall at Tour du Poitou Charentes and Circuit de la Sarthe - Pays de la Loire all the way through to his last race of the year at Duo Normand which he won alongside teammate Svein Tuft.
"Luke has had an incredible first year as a pro with six individual victories and one team time trial win scattered through his season," said sports director Matt White. "We are looking forward to continuing to help Luke develop through these early years as a pro and seeing him grow into a world class time trialist and future star of the sport. With Orica-GreenEdge, Luke has a home for many years to come."
While Durbridge has finished his season he is already looking to 2013, where is expects to have a similar program to this year. One major change to his schedule is the high chance that he will line up for his first grand tour. At this stage it’s not definite but many would expect the Giro d’Italia to be his first chance to ride a three week race.
"I expect more of the same," said Durbridge. "I want to continue to wean myself into the bigger races and have a go at the smaller races. The small races are the perfect place for me to learn how to win, and eventually, I can build the confidence and skills to go for a win in harder races, too. I’ll continue to specialize in the one week stage races without too many hills that include a time trial and maybe a prologue."