Peloton Watch
  Luke Durbridge Extends Orica-GreenEDGE Contract  
  October 8th 2012  
  Luke Durbridge who had a two-year deal with Orica-GreenEDGE running through the 2013 season has today extended his contract with the Australian team for an additional year. This will keep Durbridge at Orica-GreenEDGE till at least 2014.

2012 has been an amazing start for the young West Australian picking up a number of stage and overall wins.

Durbridge started the year in great form picking up the Australian National Time Trial Championship beating teammate, fellow West Australian and close friend Cameron Meyer. From here Durbridge rode the Tour Down Under despite a crash before the start of the Down Under Classic.

Durbridge's first race in Europe as a professional was the Three Days of De Panne where he was hoping for a good result due to the time trial on the final stage. Luke finished 8th in the time trial 32 seconds behind the stage and overall winner Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ). This resulted in 7th overall.

The next big race for Durbridge was Circuit de la Sarthe. Winning the ITT on stage 2b set Luke up for his first general classification win as a professional. This gave him growing confidence for the rest of the season.

Durbridge rode the Tour de Romandie, which will prove to be a good step in his development. Luke's performance at the Tour of California could prove to be a defining moment of his first year pro. Finishing 18th in what is a very hilly race was a great achievement. Luke took over the young rider classification after the time trial on stage 5 and held it for 2 days. Luke tried hard to keep it on stage 7 with the final climb to Mount Baldy but despite a valiant effort he didn't have enough.

His biggest win came in the prologue of the Criterium du Dauphine where he beat Bradley Wiggins. Not that he would have needed a confidence boost at that point but beating a rider like Bradley Wiggins in a prologue or time trial is a huge accomplishment.

Next up was the Eneco Tour, with an individual as well as team time trial it was a perfect race for him. Orica-GreenEDGE won the team time trial, Durbridge finished 8th in the individual time trial (won by Svein Tuft). The final stage was the hardest but Durbridge managing to get over the tough finishing circuit and confirm 5th overall.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes was Durbridge's next race, winning the individual time trial gave him the overall lead. With the GC fight very close it all came down to the final day. FDJ the team of Jeremy Roy who was sitting second caused a split in the peloton but Durbridge was well protected in that group and sprinted to 4th to seal the overall win.

Durbridge was part of the Orica-GreenEDGE squad in the team time trial at the World Championships where the team won the Bronze medal. An outside favourite for the individual event, things did not go as well as planned on the hard course. Durbridge finished 21st.

The last race of the season for Luke was the two-man time trial Duo Normand where he partnered with Svein Tuft. The duo sealed a convincing win to wrap up Luke's first season as a professional in style.

Commenting on extending his contract "I've really enjoyed the environment on the team and I appreciate the genuine interest in my development," said Durbridge. "GreenEDGE offered the extension, and it made a lot of sense to sign. I get security and the ability to concentrate on more good years with the team."

Orica-GreenEDGE sports director Matt White on extending Luke's contract "Luke has had an incredible first year as a pro with six individual victories and one team time trial win scattered through his season,"

Many people often speak of Cameron Meyer as Australia's next big GC contender but based on his development in races such as the Tour of California and his strong time trialing ability Luke Durbridge is another rider who in the future could develop in to a GC challenger.
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