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Luke Davison – Glasgow Gold and a Stagiaire’s ride with ‘super squadra’ BMC!

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Luke Davison
2013 World Track Championships, Scratch Race medal. Photo©supplied

It was last year when our man Dave Chapman first spotted Aussie Luke Davison doing the biz in the Flanders kermises; but it was 2007 when he first came to Aussie national prominence as part of the winning squad in the National Team Sprint Championships.

Within a year he was a triple Junior World Junior Track Champion – displaying outstanding versatility in winning the team pursuit, madison and omnium.

The following 2009 season was quieter with just a silver in the Australian National Madison Championship.

There was a fallow year in 2010 and placings in Australian races in 2011 but no stand out results.

In 2012 everything changed; four stages in the Tour of Gippsland; five stages and the overall GC in the Tour of the Murray River; two stages in the Tour of the Great South Coast and the overall win in the Australian National Race Calendar competition.

Luke Davison
Luke riding at the head of the South Australia Team Pursuit at the National Championships. Photo©supplied

Season 2013 saw Davison’s versatility shine through again – a stage win in the Herald Sun Tour, gold in the Australian Team Pursuit Championship, silver in the Australian Kilometre Championship and bronze in the World Scratch Championship.

And in the late season World Cup at Aquascalientes in Mexico he pulled off a notable ‘double’ in the team pursuit and omnium.

Luke Davison
Taking the win at the Kluisbergen-Ruien kermis. Photo©Heidi Lannoo

Rolling the momentum into 2014 he’s taken Australian, World – and now Commonwealth team pursuit titles.

And that’s not to mention fitting in a win in the 200 K UCi 1.2 Omloop der Kempen in The Netherlands in his Synergy Baku colours.

And to add to a great year, Luke has just been given a stagiaire’s ride with ‘super squadra’ BMC.

But he very kindly found time to speak to VeloVeritas before jumping into the World Tour shark pool.

Luke Davison
Luke in the Scratch Race Qualifying round. Photo©Martin Williamson

Congratulations on a great week, Luke and thank you for taking the team to speak to us – were you surprised by your margin over England in the final at Glasgow?

“Yeah I was; I think it was a pretty impressive ride by the four of us.

“We had a pretty good idea of where we were at but I think we probably exceeded our own expectations – although the final definitely hurt!”

3:54 – very quick, did you think you’d go so fast?

“It’s a very quick time considering the track.

“We were posting some pretty good times in training and the sensations were very good.

“That said everyone adapts to the taper and the travel differently so it’s always a bit of an unknown.

“I think that time shows that we’re the strongest team pursuit squad in the world at the moment, not just in the Commonwealth.”

Luke Davison
Australia Team Pursuit. Photo©Martin Williamson

Tell us about your preparation for the team pursuit, please?

“The preparation has been very good for all of us on the squad.

“I’ve been racing on the road with Synergy Baku and the National team since March and all of the other guys have been racing some big road tours as well.

“In June we all went to a training camp in Flagstaff Arizona and I think the great roads and great weather allowed us to get in some top quality training.

“After the Flagstaff camp we returned to Europe to polish off the technical side of things as well as adding some hard pursuit efforts to our final run in.

“The preparation obviously worked, although we know that everyone will continue to improve as we head towards the Olympics.”

What was the Synergy team’s attitude to your needing time for the Games?

“Synergy Baku has been incredible.

“The management and my team mates are a bunch of absolute legends.

“The morale at races and camps has been sky high and I’ve had an absolute ball riding with them.

“They’ve been genuinely interested in my track riding and I think they’re pretty proud of my results too.”

Are the Games still as big deal with the Aussie public and Media as they used to be?

“I think so.

“Obviously I only hear about the response back home from family and friends, who are bound to be a little bit biased, but from what they’ve told me, it’s been massive.

“It’s nice getting emails and texts from people following the Games too.”

Luke Davison
Luke (second r) and his teammates are Commonwealth Games Team Pursuit Champions. Photo©Martin Williamson

What did you think of the Glasgow track?

“The track itself was fantastic but the atmosphere is what makes the racing special.
The Scottish people were clearly very proud to be holding the games and they turned up in droves and went nuts.

“It’s the first time I’ve raced in a full velodrome with everyone cheering and it gave me goose bumps.”

The Holy Grail – sub 3:50, when will it come?

“Time will tell, but it will take four fairly incredible athletes to do it I think.”

How did 2014 go on the road for you?

“It’s been a year of ups and downs.

“I think it took me longer than I expected to adjust to the European style of racing.

“In one of my first races in France I saw one bloke kick another guy off his bike in the first 20k’s of a race – that was definitely a different experience for me.

“I think by the time I left for Flagstaff I was learning to be more aggressive and fight for position in the bunch.

“Winning Omloop der Kempen was massive for me – I had to fight so hard for that win and I consider it one of my biggest achievements.”

Synergy rides a pretty cosmo programme, don’t they?

“They show up at a lot of races and that’s one of the keys reasons why I was so interested in the team.

“This year I’ve raced with them in Australia, Estonia, Belgium and France, all in 3 months – It’s been fantastic to race in so many different places.

“I think people really love having us at their races because we feature in the breaks and race hard.”

Luke Davison
Luke’s association with Synergy Baku has worked out well. PhotoS©ynergy Baku Cycling

How did the BMC hook up come about?

“Daniel Healey, who coached me to three junior world titles, is now the head sports scientist at BMC.

“Daniel has all my power files from training and racing over a number of years and I think he really believes I can make it at the top level.

“Winning Omloop de Kempen obviously helped improve my chances of getting a stagiaire but I owe Daniel a great deal for endorsing me.

“At the moment I’m training in Germany with Daniel, trying to get myself into top form so I can impress in my races with BMC.”

When’s the first meet to get your bike and gear?

“The bike and kit were delivered to me in Germany a couple of days ago.

“Obviously the BMC kit is huge in Australia because of Cadel Evans’ win in the 2011 tour so to be given my own set was a real thrill.

“The bike is phenomenal – I’ve been doing extra training because I don’t want to hop off the thing, ha ha.”

What will the programme be?

“My first two races are the London-Surrey classic followed by the Tour of Norway.

“At this stage, I have a few one day races in Belgium after that.

“I can’t wait to get stuck in for the team.

“Getting to race alongside guys like Phillipe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd will be an incredible experience – I hope I can impress them.”

When will you know you’re “in”?

“Who knows – I’m just focused on riding as hard as I can in whatever role the team gives me.

“If I ride as hard as I can, the rest will take care of itself.”

VeloVeritas wishes Luke ‘all the best’ in his stagiaire roll with BMC and hopes that it’ll be the World Tour for him in 2015.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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