Durbridge in doubt to defend time trial

REIGNING champion Luke Durbridge is in doubt to defend his time trial title in the Cycling Australian Road National Championships at Burrumbeet on Wednesday.

Illness forced the two-time national elite time trial champion to miss yesterday’s last event in the bay criterium classic at Williamstown, making it unclear whether he will be fit enough to defend his time trial title.

Durbridge’s throat started feeling scratchy on Saturday night after he completed a stirring victory on the third day of the four-day series.

He led Ballarat’s Pat Shaw across the line after the duo combined for what turned out to be a race-winning break.

Orica-GreenEDGE team director Matt Wilson told AAP said they were unsure whether Durbridge would be fit for the time trial.

Durbridge has been one of the stars of the nationals in Ballarat over the past few years.

He won the under-23 men’s time trial in 2011 and then graduated to elite men company and took out the time trial.

He dominated last year’s titles, winning the time trial and road race at Buninyong.

Durbridge moved into third and striking distance of the lead in the bayside classic after Saturday’s victory.

The West Australian star broke clear with Shaw before halfway, with the duo staying away to the finish.

It was a powerful display from Durbridge, who also won the Portarlington event last year.

Zak Dempster tried to catch the leading pair, but it soon became clear Durbridge and Shaw were working too well together.

“It was really three against one, because Luke is worth about two actually,” Dempster said.

The nationals begin with the time trials, follow by the criterium titles in the Ballarat CBD on Thursday night and road races at Buninyong on Saturday and 

Sunday.

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