Durbridge shrugs off sore throat, confirms he will compete in Australian national championships this week
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Durbridge shrugs off sore throat, confirms he will compete in Australian national championships this week

by VeloNation Press at 5:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, National Championships
2013 time trial and road race winner ready to chase more success

Luke DurbridgeFears that defending time trial and road race champion Luke Durbridge could be forced to miss the Australian championships this week have been dismissed by the Orica GreenEdge rider, who confirmed that the sore throat he experienced on Sunday has abated.

Team directeur sportif Matt Wilson told the Canberra Times yesterday that he was uncertain if the rider would be recovered in time to take part in Wednesday’s time trial.

However Durbridge has since updated the situation and said that he will defend the title he took in 2012 and 2013.

“I'll be there. I just had a bit of a sore throat and thought it was not really worth doing the [last race], so I decided to shut it down and have a day's rest,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The 22 year old rider showed fine condition when he rode away from the field on Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic. He combined with Patrick Shaw (Satalyst) in the two man move, opening a lead of over a minute on the peloton and then outsprinting his fellow Australian at the finish.

That moved him to third overall in the final standings. He passed up the chance to win the race overall when he opted not to start yesterday, saying that he had woken up with a sore throat.

Still, his sensations this year have been encouraging. He said that he was “in as good form, if not better” than this time last year, making it possible he could once again do the double.

However Durbridge knows that nothing is guaranteed. He could be the strongest rider in the bunch but not win the road race. Firstly, his Orica GreenEdge team-mates are likely to be in strong form, with others such as 2012 champion Simon Gerrans likely to challenge. Depending on how the race plays out, there is a possibility that he could end up sacrificing his chances for another from the WorldTour squad.

Secondly, the opposition cannot be discounted. In addition to 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans taking part for the first time since 2005, the Drapac team has stepped up to Pro Continental level and should be stronger than it has been in the past.

He knows that team will be fired up to try to upstage the Orica GreenEdge riders, but welcomes the increase in standard it could cause.

“Obviously Drapac would love to beat us at the national titles because we have won it the last two years and obviously we would love to win it … to take it to Europe,” he said.

“People are trying to build it up as much as possible – Drapac versus GreenEDGE. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing.

“It's going to be good for Australian cycling, having two teams really competitive at this time of year.”


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