The Tour began with nine Australians and that tally is down to eight after the withdrawal of Luke Durbridge because of an accident in stage one. We spoke to ‘Durbo’ before the start of stage five to find out how his recuperation is going.
Luke Durbridge Q&A
RIDE: I’ve got Luke Durbridge on FaceTime and we’re just having a little bit of a chat. He went to hospital yesterday, had an operation and got home at about 11.30 last night. Can you just give us an overview of what they had to do to you after your crash?
Luke Durbridge: “I ruptured a ligament in my ankle and got a fairly decent strain on the other side. What they’ve had to do is reattach the ligament to the bone so that my tendon stays in place.
“The problem was that, when I was riding the day after, the tendon kept popping out of the sheath around the ankle and they had to sort of put it back in. So, the functioning of the ankle just wasn’t possible.
“I had to get that done and now I’m at home and I’ve got a couple of weeks of doing not much.”
It’s not like you can just jump on the Zwift and keep your form. It all basically came to a grinding halt in Düsseldorf, didn’t it?
“Yeah, it’s funny: it was just like 10km – or something like that. I thought, in the wet on the first day of the Tour de France, everyone is going for it. For myself it was a good opportunity to have a good result, put myself up there in the top five or even better.
“I thought I’d give it a good crack and I think that corner claimed a few people.
“I think the motorbike behind Simon Clarke had to actually crash. There might have been some oil on the road that caused a few of us to go down…
“But hey, I gave it sort of everything to get a good result, so I’m not upset I crashed; it’s just I’m upset that my Tour de France is over.”
How do you feel after the surgery?
“Pretty sore. Like I said, they had to go into the bone and I’ve got a nice, sweet moonboot on at the moment and I’m just hobbling around for the first week.
“I actually went to the shops this morning with a backpack on to get some groceries – and I completely overachieved.
“I had a bike and I thought I’d get on and ride to the shops with my moonboot and then balance a bag on the way home, with crutches as well…
“It was quite fun actually. If you saw me, you’d laugh. I looked like an idiot.
“Anyway, I managed to get home and I thought, ‘I need a rest.’
“I called the team doctor and was like, ‘Is that alright? You know, I feel a bit tired and my leg is a bit sore…’ and he was like, ‘Mate, you’ve literally had an operation less than 24 hours ago – just chill for a second!’
“But I’m the worst like that. I have to be doing something.”
Where’s home for you right now?
“I’m going to go in between Girona and Andorra. At the moment I’m in Girona just because the hospital is not too far away but once I’m a little bit more able I’ll probably shoot up to Andorra. I’ve got an apartment there and I’ll get up in the mountain air and some clean living and enjoy myself up there.”
What is the forecast for the time you have to spend off the bike before ligament heals?
“So at the moment, I’ve got a week completely off the leg and then I can start to walk a little bit on the moonboot in the next week.
“I’ll probably spend three weeks with the boot on…
“The doctors have given me an estimation of between six to eight weeks before I can probably race again.
“So, nothing is on soon… I’m definitely going to have to keep myself busy and get some rehab done.
“The last time I was in hospital was four years ago.
“I haven’t been injured in a while so I’m taking it as a chance to rebuild certain areas that I need to work on.
“My back is a little unstable and causing me some back pain.
“And I want to work really hard on my aerodynamic position on my TT bike…
“So there’s a lot of things that I want to work on.
“Nutrition-wise, I want to try a few things and I think it’s a good opportunity to step back – you know, you don’t normally get a proper break in the off-season, you just spend most of the time out catching up with mates and not really looking after yourself. So this is actually a period where I can look after myself for a good period off the bike.
“Hopefully I can come back and be better and stronger by the worlds.”
Great to see you taking a positive from a negative situation and thanks for taking the time to have a chat.
– Interview by Rob Arnold