21 Jan 2021

Luke Durbridge's 80km solo ride to the finish line on Ziptrak® Stage 1

ZIPTRAK® STAGE 1: SEPPELTSFIELD TO TANUNDA
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The opening stage of the Santos Festival of Cycling turned into the "Luke Durbridge show".

The 29-year-old West Australian of WorldTour Team BikeExchange earned every prize possible for the Ziptrak® Stage 1 Seppeltsfield to Tanunda except the Focus Young Rider's jersey, which went to Team Garmin-Australia’s Luke Plapp.

The “Turbo Durbo’ moniker was fitting on Thursday afternoon in 36C heat as Durbridge walked away with not only the stage win, but also the Most Competitive Rider, Ziptrak Sprint Jersey, Shimano King of the Mountain and will head into BikeExchange Stage 2 in the Santos Leaders Jersey.

Critics claim all he has to do now to win the National Road Series is to stay upright, ensure his team keeps him out of danger and the Santos Festival of Cycling’s National Road Series is guaranteed.

However, Durbridge wasn’t so sure.

“There was pressure on our shoulders, we're the only WorldTour team here,’’ Durbridge said.

“These boys are motivated and I said to myself “be a bit brave and go for it, it’s only 100km (race).”

“But when we got out there and it’s 40 degrees, 100km is still a long way and I counted the sprints and sort of tweaked it a bit and no-one really came with me.

“That’s my style and I have been doing that on the front of the peloton, I got the gap and then put in a nice sort of tempo.”

Durbridge powered into the Tanunda finish line with a 2 minute 28 second gap over his nearest rival Raphael Freiensten from Inform TM Insight Make.

The 29-year-old former professional German cyclist believes the chase for the GC is over.

“It was super hard all day and when he went after the first sprint it was a good time to go as the bunch had already split,’’ Freiensten said.

“At first I didn’t know he was there until someone told me he had a three minute gap and my teammate Mark O’Brien sat on the front and tried to bring it back.

“He just had an amazing ride and (Durbridge) is in good form leading into the nationals.

“But I’m super stoked to come away with second place.

“I think if the gap was four minutes, it’s really hard to take back, unfortunately the GC is almost over, you see that at the Tour de France, let’s hope he doesn’t have a crash or a mechanical but we will be fighting to the end.

“You never know.”

Durbridge opened up a 3 minute 14 second gap with 43km to go before the Tanunda finish line.

By the time teams thought about counter-attacking Durbridge it was way too late as Tanunda was approaching and the gap blew out to more than four minutes.

Celebrating his 10th season with BikeExchange, Durbridge’s consistent cadence tested the resilience of the chasing bunches which were broken up as 17 riders paid the price and abandoned the race.

Two-time Santos Tour Down Under champion Richie Porte’s presence among his temporary Garmin-Australia teammates was encouraging as the Tasmanian was slowly edging his way back to form after a COVID interrupted 2020.

Porte ended the stage 16 mins; 52 secs behind Durbridge.

It was game on for Durbridge after Cycle House Racing’s Matt Ross collected the first Shimano King of the mountain points at Mengler Hill.

Garmin-Australia’s Kelland O’Brien earned the first Ziptrak® sprint before Durbridge earned the second Shimano king of the mountain before owning the sprint jersey.

THE JERSEYS

SANTOS LEADER’S JERSEY
The Santos Jersey is awarded to the rider with the fastest cumulative time at the end of each stage - the leader of the 'general classification - and the overall winner at the end of the race.

Owner: Luke Durbridge - BikeExchange
"It’s really not up to you if you win or not it’s up to the peloton"

ZIPTRAK SPRINT JERSEY
This jersey is awarded at the end of each stage, and the race, to the rider with the most number of points in the sprint classification. Sprint points are awarded at pre-defined checkpoints on stages, including the finish. Sprint checkpoints located along the route are referred to as intermediate sprints, and carry fewer points than those associated with the finish. The first three riders receive points towards the classification.

Owner: Luke Durbridge - BikeExchange
“On the last lap I started to get the twinges, my fingers started to go and my legs started to cramp, you get a little but nervous and you think oh no.”

SHIMANO KING OF THE MOUNTAIN JERSEY
The Shimano King of the Mountain jersey is awarded at the end of each stage, and the race, to the rider who leads the cumulative Subaru Mountains Classification. Shimano King of the Mountains points are awarded at predetermined summits along each stage. This jersey traditionally has a polka dot pattern, which started in the Tour de France in 1975 and has been adopted by other races around the world. The Santos Festival of Cycling King of the Mountain jersey has blue polka dots.

Owner: Luke Durbridge - BikeExchange
“It’s just really great to be here, there’s no racing in Australia.”

FOCUS YOUNG RIDER'S JERSEY
The Focus Rider's jersey is awarded at the end of each stage, and the race, to the rider under 26 years of age with the best cumulative time in the race. The Youth Classification leader and winner traditionally wears a white-coloured jersey in world cycling, and the Santos Festival of Cycling maintains this tradition.

Owner: Luke Plapp - Garmin-Australia
“It was a bit of a Luke Durbridge show and when he had a four minute gaps there’s not much you can do, the race panned out quite a bit different to initially planned.”

MOST COMPETITIVE RIDER
Awarded each day to the rider who has instigated the most attacks, breakaways and assisted their teammates to the best advantage.

Owner: Luke Durbridge - BikeExchange
"When you look at the race it’s just short, sharp stages and the Willunga, so maybe the boys are motivated to hold onto it (GC), I’m motivated too."

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