Durbridge Does The Double
It’s been another eventful week of racing here in Australia with the 2013 National Championships coming to a close yesterday. GreenEDGE cleaned up in the Elite women’s and men’s events and twenty-one year old Luke Durbridge was the star of the weekend by taking home both the ITT and Road Race titles. He’s the first one to win the double since the glory days of Rob Crowe and Jono Hall in the early 90’s back when amateur and professional were separate.
The temperature was absolutely perfect for the riders but a little bit fresh for the spectators hoping to get a suntan. But that didn’t stop thousands of fans making the journey to Mount Buninyong to have a roadside party and watch the race.
I always find it incredibly hard to pick out who will win on the Bunninyong course and it never fails to produces a different type of winner. Robbie McEwen won on this course in 2005 and the honor roll goes through guys like Darren Lapthorne, Jack Bobridge and Simon Gerrans who are all-rounders, Matty Lloyd who is a pure climber, and now Luke Durbridge who is a TT specialist. Even sprinters like Von Hoff and Matthews can get over the hills and make it to the podium (and special congrats to Neil Van Der Ploeg for a remarkable 4th place). Personally I can’t see any reason why the location should ever be changed as it’s a fabulous course for the spectators, it’s unpredictable, and some epic stories are being created on these roads that’ll go down in Australian cycling history. Those of you living outside Victoria might have a different take on it though…
A few observations from the past week of racing:
• Luke Durbridge. Enough said. #TwinTurboDurbo (okay, I got that from Scott McGrory)
• Michael Matthews. What an enormous talent he is. Pure class, and the man can dance. He came second in the road race by winning the bunch kick and came third in the time trial only 45 seconds behind Durbridge. I keep thinking that Matthews’ time trialling abilities will soon fade, but to be able to beat Richie Porte in the “race of truth”, no matter what form Richie is in, is incredible. Matthews has already had some huge successes at the World Tour level, but my prediction is that he’s found a good home at GreenEDGE with a lot of his mates and if he keeps his head on straight he’s going to have a spectacular year. I can’t believe he missed the Orica-GreenEDGE TdU team though (Daryl Impey, Jens Mouris, Luke Durbridge, Simon Clarke and Stuart O’Grady will support Goss and Gerrans).
• Steele Von Hoff. I can remember three years ago he wasn’t even wearing bib shorts and I could see his butt crack sprinting away ahead of me at the local club races. Now look at him on the podium snagging third place – bib shorts and all. A top bloke as well.
• Cameron Meyer. It was surprising to see him forego the ITT, but he TT’d his way to a solo win at the Criterium Championships after staying away for 28 laps with a chasing bunch behind him!? “Not normal,” as they say, but Meyer is anything but normal.
• The U23’s. Australian road cycling is in a fine place at the moment. There’s heaps of great talent coming up through the ranks.
• Jo Hogan. I was thrilled to see Jo on top of the podium after knowing how much hard work she’s put in and the sacrifices she’s made to get to where she is. Congratulations Jo!
• Shara Gillow. I think I’m in love. What a ride!
• Jack Bobridge – The individual persuit world champion almost 5 minutes down in the ITT last week. He had a good crack in the road race yesterday when he tried to bridge to the break, but in the end DNF’d. I saw him and Graeme Browne at KFC afterwards. Will his move to Blanco be the change he needs to renew his focus? I hope so…
• Best amateur rides of the week: Nick Bensley and Shane Miller in the ITT (7th and 10th respectively) and bettering Bobridges time by a minute. Awesome ride fellas!
Australia’s summer of cycling is far from being over. The Grand Finale starts next weekend in Adelaide with the Tour Down Under where the spectators get more riding in than the pros. I’ll see you out on the road in the Adelaide Hills!
Full results and race reports from all events at the 2013 Australian Road Cycling Championships: