Luke Durbridge has followed Orica-BikeExchange teammates Caleb Ewan, Adam Yates, Simon Yates, Damien Howson and Esteban Chaves in extending his contract with the Australian squad. The 25-year-old has penned a two-year extension that sees him stay with the team until at least the end of the 2018 season.
On Sunday, the 2011 U23 time trial world champion helped power the Orica-BikeExchange team to third place in the team time trial at the Doha Worlds where he will also represent Australia in the time trial on Wednesday and road race on Sunday. Along with teammate Svein Tuft, Durbridge rode to Duo Normand on the eve of the championships in a successful season that saw him finish a third straight Tour de France and record his best result yet at Paris-Roubaix where he also helped Mat Hayman to victory.
"The team definitely feels like home to me. I really like the environment, working closely with really good mates around me and I think we'll have a lot of results coming up in the next seasons. I look forward to being a part of it," Durbridge said of the extension with the team who he joined in 2012. "I've been with the team since the beginning and I'm very happy with the role that I have, thanks to the development I have been able to do here."
Durbridge burst onto the scene as a neo-pro in 2012, winning the Criterium du Dauphine prologue ahead of Bradley Wiggins, along with overall victories at Tour du Poitou Charentes and Circuit cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire, and victory in the national time trial title. In 2017, Durbridge is aiming to return to his best against the clock while at the same time balancing his ambitions in the classics and helping out in the grand tours.
"I'm especially pleased with how things have come together for me this year. I've been able to focus on the Classics and also to work for our leaders in the Grand Tours which has been great," said Durbridge who also helped the team to TTT wins at the 2014 and 2015 editions of the Giro d'Italia.
"I would definitely like to keep that focus and also work to get back into time trialing even more. It's something that I know I can use for a lot of purposes, both for my own results and for our common goals."
Director Sportif Matt White explained his delight with Durbridge's 2016 season, adding that the West Australian has become a key cog in the Orica-BikeExchange machine.
"We have definitely seen Durbo (Durbridge) coming of age this last season and we're really pleased to see how his long term development plan has succeeded," White said. "He has done a large amount of high-level racing at a young age and he has adapted to it all mentally and physically."
"Luke has an astonishing engine and he has put it to great use in both the Classics and the Grand Tours. He has become a key member to our core group in the most demanding races and we're happy to have him signed for the years to come."
Along with extending the contracts of the Yates brothers, Howson and Chaves, Orica-BikeExchange have announced the signings of Carlos Verona (Etixx-QuickStep), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff) and Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling) for next season.
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