Luke Durbridge's defence of his Australian road and time trial titles is in doubt after he was a non-starter in Sunday's Williamstown Criterium, the final event in the four-day Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic series.
The Orica-GreenEdge rider was an impressive winner of the Portarlington Criterium on Saturday, out-sprinting Patrick Shaw (Satalyst) after they had escaped midway through the race, but he was forced out of the final event with a sore throat.
Under-23 world time trial champion in Copenhagen in 2011, Durbridge has won the elite men's time trial title at the Australian championships in each of his first two seasons as a professional. This year's race takes place in Ballarat on Wednesday, while the road race takes place next Sunday.
Orica-GreenEdge directeur sportif Matt Wilson said that Durbridge's illness is such that he is by no means certain to start the time trial on Wednesday.
“No, not at all,” Wilson told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Last night [Saturday] he was saying there was a little bit of something in his throat, and then he woke up this morning saying it was really, really sore, so there was no way we were risking him today. We'll nurse him in the next couple of days and hope it doesn't get any worse.''
Durbrige tweeted on Monday that he will be on the start line come Wednesday, "ready to go," as he looks to claim his third national title.
Caleb Ewan, who will join Durbridge at Orica-GreenEdge at the end of 2014, claimed the Williamstown Criterium on Sunday, while Brenton Jones (Procon Telematics') did enough to win the series overall.
In the women’s race, Giorgia Bronzi (Wiggle-Honda) took her third win in four days to seal overall victory ahead of Annette Edmondson (Orica-AIS) and Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized Securitor).