On Thursday he turned 24. On Sunday, Luke Durbridge lines up for Paris-Roubaix. The Australian champion from two years ago is ready for the Classics. He spoke to RIDE‘s editor Rob Arnold on Friday night just before another reconnaissance ride on the roads leading to Roubaix. The Orica-GreenEdge rider is one of many who will be in the peloton this Sunday who have won big titles on the track and while his next race finishes on a velodrome, it’s one of the most anticipated one-day road races of the year.
A day before Durbridge races to Paris-Roubaix in the third of cycling’s ‘Monuments’ for the 2015 season, we present a 15 minute chat with him about what the race means to him.
Click the Soundcloud file to listen to Luke Durbridge talk about Paris-Roubaix.
In the Ronde van Vlaanderen last week Durbridge finished 43rd in the group that was 3:23 behind the winner, Alexander Kristoff. He’s realistic about his chances in his fifth ‘Monument’ and there’s good reason. There’s still much to learn.
“I coped quite well… you never feel strong but I still could pedal quite comfortably,” he said of the race that took him six-and-a-half hours to finish. “Last year, unfortunately, I knocked myself out five k into Flanders so I never got to do Flanders. So I guess it’s probably my third [or] fourth over 250km race. That makes a difference: to learn how to think, ‘Okay, it’s four-and-a-half hours in now – let’s start racing!’ That’s an interesting concept. If you’re four-and-a-hours into a ride on the weekend, you’re calling it up and having a few beers, laying on the couch. But [in the Classics], you’re four-and-a-half hours in and you’re going, ‘Righto, take the leg warmers off and start racing.”
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“It’s really good weather. We had a bit of a shocking Classics period weather-wise. I had a really big crash in Gent-Wevelgem and I landed on my sternum and my knee… it’s something that’s constantly there, it’s really quite painful but for a rib or a sternum, there’s nothing you can really do about it. So, going into races like Flanders and Roubaix, it’s not ideal. In any other case, you’d probably rest it but for me it’s like Grand Final weekend so I was like, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter, I’m still racing.'”