Critérium du Dauphiné: Durbridge plays it safe after Achilles flare up
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Critérium du Dauphiné: Durbridge plays it safe after Achilles flare up

by Kyle Moore at 6:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné, Injury
Abandon is precautionary measure for time trialist with future goals in mind

Luke DurbridgeThe Critérium du Dauphiné for Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) came to a premature end yesterday before the start of stage 5, the first true mountain stage of the week, from Saint-Trivier-sur-Moignans to Rumilly.

Durbridge put on the first yellow jersey of the race, after taking the opening prologue time trial in Grenoble by a single second ahead of Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling), who currently leads the Dauphiné overall.

The young Aussie was one of four non-starters at the beginning of the day, along with Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano), Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda) and Sebastian Rosseler (Garmin-Barracuda). Amongst those riders, Geschke reportedly has a broken thumb, and Vanmarcke a stomach bug.

The Achilles issue is not a new one for Durbridge however, and he did not express too much displeasure in his admission that he would no longer continue. Instead, he sounded grateful for the week that was, including one of the biggest wins in his young career.

“Woke up this morning and my Achilles is crunchy again,” Durbridge wrote on his Twitter account yesterday. “Got the no-go from the doc to start today. That’s the end of my Dauphiné, a great week.

“Thanks to all the GreenEdge riders and staff for making it an enjoyable week. Now for a bit of a break! Can’t wait.”

Down four men at the start, stage 5 was eventually taken by Arthur Vichot (FDJ-BigMat) out of the day’s main breakaway. Though they have understandably struggled in some stage races, with few riders on the roster specializing in them, day’s like Durbridge’s on Monday have kept the team happily near the forefront at times.

Friday’s stage was not one of them however, as team director Laurenzo Lapage explained on the team website, after the team failed to make what it figured would be the winning break.

“Ideally, we would put Simon Clarke, Wesley Sulzberger or Daniel Teklehaimanot in the move,” Lapage stated. “During the first 60 kilometers, there were so many attempts to escape. Different riders from Orica-GreenEdge went up the road at different points during the first 90 minutes of racing. Leigh Howard was in a move that looked especially good for awhile, but that one came back, too. Eventually, a break went up the road – and we weren’t in it. We missed the good move today.”

Lapage referred to the goals of his young time trial specialist later in the season as a primary reason for his precautionary withdrawal.

“He has been dealing with achilles pain,” Lapage said of Durbridge, “and it became too much to comfortably manage. After consulting with the team doctor, we decided not to have him start stage five with his other objectives for the season in mind.”

Although he won’t be 22 until next April, the neo-pro has had a superb first few months as a pro rider. He won the Australian national TT championships in January, then took a stage and the overall classification in the Circuit de la Sarthe, plus the Dauphiné prologue. He’s already been spoken of as a potential successor to Fabian Cancellara.

Durbridge won the world under 23 time trial championships in Copenhagen last autumn.


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