Despite having the advantage of starting as last man in the Dauphiné’s 5.7 kilometre prologue time trial, Britain’s defending champion, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) couldn’t best the time set by 21 year-old world under 23 world time trial champion, Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge-Orica & Australia).
The young Australian was in the hot seat for 90 minutes before he could breathe a sigh of relief and savour his first World Tour win.
Durbridge came up through the well tested Aussie route of the national team pursuit squad.
He took a world junior team pursuit title on the way; as well as a world junior world individual time trial title and world junior madison victory (with Alex Carver) en route the world senior team pursuit title in Apeldoorn in 2011.
After finishing second in the U23 TT Worlds in Geelong in 2010 to Taylor Phinney, he climbed on the top step of the podium in Copenhagen last autumn.
This season has seen his meteoric progress continue; he beat Cameron Meyer and Michael Rogers to the Australian elite individual time trial title, won the TT and GC in the Circuit de la Sarthe and now is firmly on the World Tour stage.
Durbridge had time to talk to VeloVeritas soon after he’d pulled on the yellow jersey in Grenoble.
Great ride Luke, congratulations; it must be very satisfying to beat a rider of Wiggins’ stature?
“It’s the biggest result of my short pro career.
“The course suited me with my track background; it was dead flat with two ‘U’ turns and three right hand bends, not to technical and pretty boring.
“I tried it out twice before I raced it, just to get a feel for the corners.”
Are you an ‘equipment guy?’
“Yeah, the mechanics hate me!
“I’m always experimenting with my position – handlebar angle and seat heights – to find my ideal position.
“I rode the Scott Plasma; it’s a really nice machine – I’ve been riding one in time trials for a few years – it’s what I won the Worlds on.
“I rode a Shimano c75 front and a PRO rear disc – they’re very rigid – and I used 54 x 11.”
Do you ride a race like that on watts or ‘feel?’
“I use the power meter to keep me in check, but today I hit a bump with two K to go and lost the read out – in a race like that it’s about hurting yourself – and I just drove to the line.
“I think that the SRM is very useful to ride to in a longer time trial, but over a short distance like that, it’s not so crucial.”
How do you manage to train for raw power like that but also maintain endurance?
“Because I’m at an early stage in my career, my endurance is still on the way up – but you have to focus on what you’re good at.
“That might mean you have to struggle through mountain stages or long road stages – but you have to play to your strengths and focus on them or you aren’t going to win.”
You were in the ‘hot seat’ for 90 minutes?
“It was pretty stressful – but it’s better to be waiting than not waiting!”
Your first World Tour win, how does it feel?
“I’ve worked really hard in every time trial I’ve ridden, this year – learning a little more in each one and applying that in the next one.
“I’ve been getting better and better and today it all just came together for me.”
Was silver in Geelong the spur for gold in Copenhagen?
“I think so, I was unlucky with the weather in Geelong and I didn’t lose by much.
“So I was really motivated for Copenhagen, my family was there and it was a really special day where it all just came together.”
We really had to take notice of you after you won the Circuit de la Sarthe.
“That was my second race and I was fortunate to get the jersey and then we defended it to hold on to the GC.
“And then I rode Romandie and it was a reality check on hard it is at this level.
“But California was good and whilst I had a little bit of jet lag, the last couple of days I could feel my form coming back up.”
Did you expect more from De Panne, that final time trial would suit you?
“No, I wasn’t disappointed, I was seventh in my first big race – I was happy with that, those road stages are very hard.”
Will we see you in a Grand Tour in 2012?
“Not this year, I want time to develop – I’ll ride races like this and California, around one week duration.
“I don’t want to overdo it – there are the world team time trial championships and perhaps the Olympics to think about.
“We won the TTT in Tirreno and we’re all pretty gee-ed for the Worlds.”
When will you know if you have an Olympic ride?
“I’m not sure on selection dates but we have a five man team, with the aim being to support Matt Goss.
“I’d like to get a result in the time trial here in the Dauphine, mid-week so as I can put my hand up and ask to be considered for an Olympic spot.”
How has Orica coming aboard affected things?
“It’s fantastic for the team to have another backer – particularly an Australian one.
“It’ll let us take things to the next level – and long may the partnership continue.”
Tomorrow’s parcours looks a tad lumpy.
“We’ll have a look at that in the morning; tonight I think we might have a glass of champagne.”
VeloVeritas likes the man’s style!
Result - Critérium du Dauphiné 2012 Prologue 5.7km
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:01
3 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
4 Carlos Barredo (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
5 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:05
6 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
7 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
8 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:06
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) Bmc Racing Team
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:00:07
11 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
12 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm
13 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:08
14 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm 0:00:09
15 Anthony Roux (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat
16 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
17 Markel Irizar (Spa) Radioshack-Nissan
18 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:10
19 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
20 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
21 Bram Tankink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
22 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
23 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
24 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling
25 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun 0:00:11
26 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
27 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team
28 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team
29 Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:00:12
30 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat
31 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Bmc Racing Team
32 Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
33 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
34 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
35 Daniel Teklehaimanot (Etr) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:13
36 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank
37 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Radioshack-Nissan
38 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Bmc Racing Team
39 Steve Morabito (Sui) Bmc Racing Team 0:00:14
40 Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale
41 Egor Silin (Rus) Astana Pro Team
42 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda
43 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
44 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team
45 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:00:15
46 George Hincapie (USA) Bmc Racing Team
47 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:16
48 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
49 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano
50 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat 0:00:17
51 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
52 Sylvain Georges (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
53 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank
54 Danny Pate (USA) Sky Procycling 0:00:18
55 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale
56 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
57 Joss Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
58 Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
59 Tiago Machado (Por) Radioshack-Nissan
60 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
61 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:19
62 Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar
63 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:20
64 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm
65 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
66 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat 0:00:21
67 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
68 Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
69 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:22
70 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Bmc Racing Team
71 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Radioshack-Nissan
72 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Radioshack-Nissan
73 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat
74 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:23
75 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team
76 Julien Simon (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
77 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling
78 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:24
79 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Barracuda
80 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
81 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat
82 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Isd
83 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:25
84 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
85 Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) Lampre-Isd
86 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
87 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:00:26
88 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
89 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:27
90 Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
91 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
92 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Bmc Racing Team
93 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team
94 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
95 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky Procycling
96 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
97 Michael Schär (Sui) Bmc Racing Team
98 Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
99 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team
100 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
101 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
102 Andy Schleck (Ned) Radioshack-Nissan 0:00:29
103 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Isd
104 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale
105 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm
106 Murilo Antoniobil Fischer (Bra) Garmin-Barracuda
107 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
108 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:30
109 Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team
110 Jorge Azanza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
111 Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
112 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
113 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Isd
114 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
115 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team
116 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-Dcm
117 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
118 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:31
119 David Tanner (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
120 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
121 Brice Feillu (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
122 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:32
123 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
124 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team
125 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-Dcm
126 Stephan Denifl (Aut) Vacansoleil-Dcm 0:00:33
127 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
128 Dominik Nerz (Ger) Liquigas-Cannondale
129 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha Team
130 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
131 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda
132 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team
133 Kasper Klostergaard-Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:34
134 Travis Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
135 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
136 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
137 Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha Team
138 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Radioshack-Nissan 0:00:35
139 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Fdj-Bigmat
140 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
141 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar
142 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
143 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
144 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:36
145 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Team Europcar
146 Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team 0:00:37
147 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
148 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne
149 Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
150 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team 0:00:38
151 Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar
152 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Team Argos-Shimano
153 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:39
154 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Isd
155 Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr) Lampre-Isd
156 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:40
157 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Team Saxo Bank
158 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-Dcm
159 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Saur-Sojasun 0:00:41
160 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:42
161 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team
162 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Bigmat
163 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:44
164 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:45
165 Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
166 Denys Kostyuk (Ukr) Lampre-ISD
167 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Lampre-ISD 0:00:47
168 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team
169 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:00:48
170 David Arroyo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:49
171 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:00:52
172 Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
173 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:54
174 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
175 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:14