Place 29 - Luke Durbridge
Rider type: Time triallist
Biggest success: Junior World Champion time trial
Team 2011: Team Jayco – AIS
Team 2012: not yet known
Best Mock List placing: -
During the last years there rarely were U23 riders who exclusively focused on time trials. Usually strong time triallists excel at other disciplines as well. With Luke Durbridge we go way back to the almost forgotten times of „fat“ time triallists like Michael Rich or Uwe Peschel, real men, who had the boring road bike only in their wardrobe to complete their team gear. Tough guys, who cuddled their pillows at night in a wind tunnel tested time trial position and who laid off their arms on a triathlon handlebars already in their moms uteri.
Like many Aussies, time triallists and Jayco riders Durbridge earned his firsts merits on the track. In 2009 he not only won the silvermedal at the junior track World Championships in the Team Pursuit, with Alex Carver he became World Champion in the Madison as well. Gaining the rainbow jersey in the time trial on the road was certainly even more important .
In 2010 Durbridge changed his junior team for the already mentioned Australian talent pool Jayco. First successes came immediately. The Olympia’s Tour (2.2) in the Netherlands provided a strong field of participants with two individual time trials. Behind Phinney and Sergent, who each won a time trial stage at this year´s ENECO Tour, the 20 year old finished third in the prologue. Doing so, he even beat Alex Dowsett, who achieved some strong time trial results this year as a pro at Team Sky
The second race against the clock went less satisfactory, as „only“ place five was Durbridges result at the end of the stage. In the summer the Jayco team won – as it was expected – the team time trial at the Thüringen – Rundfahrt (2.2U).
The highlight of the season was supposed to be the World Champs home in Australia. The nomination itself already was a success as the Aussies had two other irons in the medalfire with Hepburn and Dennis. In thepreparation for the Worlds the former triathlete celebrated his first pro victory at the Memorial Davide Fardelli (1.2). There he defeated Marcel Kittel among others. One week later, with the Chrono Champenois (1.2) another one day time trial event took place. Here the Australian came in third behind this year’s Mock Lister Rasmus Quaade and Matti Helminen.
So he had earned his selection for Geelong. There he started early and accomplished an insane time, that was only by Taylor Phinney, who was behind all day but came in with a two second lead in the very end. So Luke Durbridge is the youngest ever U23 time trial medal winner. Two weeks after this success he rounded up his season by winning the bronze medal behind Millar and Dowsett at the Commonwealth Games time trial.
Because of this strong finish of the season the expactations rose high this year. Durbridge wasn’t yet able to redeem those expectations, at least not considering the quantity of his results. He did start well into his European campaign again, though. As in 2010 Jayco started at the Olympia’s Tour (2.2). Again the stage race offered two time trials. Nobody was able to defeat Durbridge in any of them. So he added his professional victories number two and three to his palmares.
After these wins absolutely nothing followed. The Aussie was scrapped from the Thüringen – Rundfahrt start list at the last moment and so the nothing lasted until – just like one year before – the Memorial Davide Fardelli (1.2), where he was able to show himself again. On the contrary to last year he was not able to win this year though. The Russian Anton Vorobev and Leonardi absolved the 23.6 km faster than the Jayco rider did. At the Worlds that will surely not happen to him; there he will be the number one favorit for gold.
Durbridge has not signed a pro contract yet. He is linked with GreenEdge and it can be presumed that the signing of a contract is only a matter of time - or of the World title.
Among the pros Durbridge probably will be a topshot time triallist within a few years. The question is, if he can develop away from being „just“ that time triallist. Until now not much indicates such a development. If he wants to follow that path, he will have to lose some pounds, as a look into his face suggests, that the Aussies still has some puppy fat.
A week after the Memorial Fardelli made all doubts about who is the guy to beat in Copenhagen disappear. At the Chrono Champenois (1.2) Vorobov, who had beaten the Australian one week before, came in third as Durbridge biggest rival for Gold in the Worlds, Rasmus Quaade, became third at 51 seconds.
Nominated by Ogkempf, written by Ogkempf, translated by Ogkempf