Already an overall winner of the Circuit de la Sarthe this year, Luke Durbridge collected the first win of his career at World Tour level as he scored the fastest time of the 5.7km prologue of the Dauphiné on a 5.7km course in Grenoble. The 21 year old Australian preceded defending champion Bradley Wiggins who has already put himself in the role of the hot favourite for the overall classification.
Lieuwe Westra (VCD) was the first rider to start the 64th Critérium du Dauphiné. The runner up of Paris-Nice was expected to set a first best time likely to last for a while but only four minutes later, Carlos Barredo (RAB) clocked the 5.7km course in 6.41. Ukraine’s Andriy Grivko (AST) was the next rider to score a new best time, also in 6.41, but that was only eight minutes prior to Luke Durbridge (OGE) to storm with an excellent time of 6.38 at an average speed of 51.557km/h!
The Australian champion for time trial outclassed his compatriots Cadel Evans (BMC) and Michael Rogers (SKY) while the main disappointing performance came from world champion Tony Martin (OPQ) who was pretty satisfied himself with his time of 6.43, five seconds down on Durbridge. The 21 year old Australian witnessed the rain pouring over the course once 70 riders had completed the course. But the road became dry again for the last leaders to enter in action.
A junior and U23 world champion for individual time trial, “Turbo Durbo” is used to anxiously waiting to know whether or not another athlete can ride faster than him. The likes of Sylvain Chavanel and David Millar didn’t threaten his lead, so it came down to defending champion Bradley Wiggins. The Briton rode very aggressively but he missed the victory by a little more than one second, as the 21 year old prodigy from Western Australia made history by winning against the clock in Grenoble, at the exact same place where his compatriot Cadel Evans sealed the overall victory at the Tour de France last year. Wiggins, 2nd, and Evans, 9th, are the two highest ranked of the favourites in the prologue of the Dauphiné.
“For me, this is a huge result! I didn’t expect to win here today. I was hoping for a top 5 but not to beat these guys like Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin who I’ve watched on TV for a few years now. I think my luck has been to ride with good weather conditions. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t but we expected some storms in the afternoon, so it was a good thing to start early. It’s not nice to wait for so long but it was worth it. To take the yellow jersey at the Dauphiné is fantastic. I’ve worked hard for that and it pays off. If I can keep the jersey after tomorrow’s stage, it’s great, but my plan is not to ride for GC this week. I came with two objectives: today’s prologue and the time trial on Thursday, which will be the longest time trial I’ve ever done.”
Final top 10:
1. Luke Durbridge, 6.38
2. Wiggins, at 0.01
3. Grivko, at 0.03
4. Barredo, st
5. Martin, at 0.05
6. Gerrans, st
7. Martens, st
8. Chavanel, at 0.06
9. Evans, st
10. Amador, at 0.07
Bradley Wiggins has completed the 5.7km course in 6.39, only second slower than Luke Durbridge. The Briton is second of the prologue.
As expected, Vincenzo Nibali scored a better time than Andy Schleck: 6.48, compared to 7.07 for the Luxembourger.
Bradley Wiggins is about to start!
As Rein Taaramae scored the provisional 42nd best time, it’s now sure that Luke Durbridge will at least wear the white jersey of best young rider but he’s also hopeful to keeping the best time and ride stage 1 with the yellow jersey tomorrow.