Coming into this year's Santos Festival of Cycling, Team Bike Exchange was the squad to beat. While Team Garmin Australia, headlined by Richie Porte, won the most stages, it was Luke Durbridge aboard his new Bianchi team bike that finished the event wearing the leader's jersey.
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A commanding 80km solo ride earned the 29-year-old a victory on the first stage, and the time gap was held through the duration of the four-stage event — helped in part by Durbridge ascending Willunga Hill a mere eight seconds slower than the king of Willunga.
With a big chop and change of sponsors ahead of the 2021 season, Durbridge has traded his Scott Addict RC for a Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc. Dressed in the brand's trademark celeste green, Durbridge is spinning a full Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 drivetrain.
Last season with Jumbo-Visma aboard Bianchi bikes, the Belgian team opted to run the rim brake version across the board due to the weight of the frame; the Western Australian chose to ride the disc version, a decision which has paid off. That said, the Dura-Ace rotors have been replaced with XTR discs, which weigh about 10g less in the 160mm size.
While the frame is new, it appears the drivetrain is not, with the Dura-Ace crank with integrated power meter showing some battle scars.
Over the years, we've become used to seeing Bianchi bikes on the WorldTour fitted with Vision's Metron 5D integrated bar and stem, however, Durbridge has opted for standard FSA bar and stem — technically, they are the same company. FSA has newly added its Aerodynamic integrated Cable Route (ACR) to the K-Force bars on his bike, which in non-marketing speak means the cables run inside the bars and 130mm FSA ACR stem, labelled as Reparto Corse, or in Bianchi terms, 'race department.'
With Durbridge's pedigree as a TT rider, it is a surprise to see the Aussie with so many headset spacers, however, the Oltre XR4 has a 12mm lower stack height than the Addict in the corresponding frame size.
When we caught up the overall winner's bike, it was shod with Shimano Dura-Ace C40 hoops, though he was rolling on the deeper C60s for his 80km breakaway — still sporting those XTR rotors. Team Bike Exchange has continued its partnership with Pirelli for 2021, with the team rolling on 25c PZero Velo tubs.
Atop the seatpost is a Fizik Veno Argo R1 saddle, complete with a short nose, wide pressure-relieving channel and, of course, celeste logos.
Tech Spec: Luke Durbridge’s Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc
- Frameset: Bianchi Oltre XR4 Disc
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Hydraulic disc, 160mm XTR Rotor
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Hydraulic disc, 140mm XTR Rotor
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Dual Control Lever
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-28T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace Dual Sided Powermeter Hollowtech II
- Bottom bracket: Shimano SM-BB72-41B
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace C-40
- Tyres: Pirelli PZero Velo
- Handlebars: FSA K-Force ACR
- Handlebar tape: Bianchi
- Stem: FSA ACR
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Saddle: Fizik Vento Argo R1
- Seat post: Oltre XR Carbon
- Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
- Rider height: 1.87 m
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