Road cycling champ escapes serious injury

LUKE Durbridge will defend his elite men’s time trial title in the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat today after escaping a fall largely unscathed yesterday.

Durbridge was flipped over his handlebars after hitting a pot hole in Sturt Street.

He was riding with GreenEDGE teammate Michael Matthews at the time of the crash just east of Gillies Street early afternoon.

They were returning to their accommodation after a media call with The Courier at the Arch of Victory, which is a focal point of the new championship time trial trial course – an out-and-back circuit which starts and finishes in Wendouree Parade next to Lake Wendouree and takes in the Avenue of Honour to Burrumbeet.

Durbridge described the incident on Twitter: “Hit an epic hole in the ground then down on my arse. Puncture and broken saddle and some skin.”

He told The Courier that he was “okay”.

The shake-up was the last thing the 21-year-old West Australian needed just 24 hours ahead of his attempt to win back-to-back national time trial titles.

Durbridge, who rode the time trial course with Matthews early in the day, had stated just minutes earlier that he had had the ideal preparation for the nationals.

While he will also ride in Sunday’s road race at Buninyong, as a time trial specialist the opening day of the championships is his top priority.

He said it was great to have the time trial first up rather than as in past years after the road race at the end of the championships.

Durbridge said he was impressed by what was a fast course.

He said he was “super motivated” having focused his preparation on the time trial.

For Matthews, the time trial will be his debut for GreenEDGE – a factor which has him determined to make a bold show.

Durbridge and Matthews are the only GreenEDGE riders lining up today.

Like Durbridge, Matthews has an impressive record in time trials.

He finished third in the national elite men’s time trial championship at Learmonth two years ago.

Matthews said wearing a new jersey was a significant motivation as he looked to make up for a disappointing 2012.

Matthews said he would have preferred to see a more undulating course, but having ridden extensively in The Netherlands and Belgium was well accustomed to flat courses.