September 29, 2013 (Normandy) – Luke Durbridge and Svein Tuft delivered a record-breaking ride in Normandy to clinch back-to-back titles at Duo Normand. The pair bested trade teammates Michael Hepburn and Jens Mouris in the unique two-man time trial.
Durbridge and Tuft covered the 54.5km course in 1:04:10, 1’20 ahead of Hepburn and Mouris. They stopped the clock 37″ quicker than the long-standing course record of 1:04:47 set by Jens Voigt and Chris Boardman in 1999, riding together for what was then Crédit Agricole.
“To finish up the time trial season and have it all come together like this is really special,” said Durbridge. “We missed out on the goal medal at Worlds [in the team time trial] by less than a second, so it’s a great feeling for us to get the record that’s been standing for 14 years. I’ve done a lot of training and racing with Svein this year. It’s pretty special to share this moment with him.
A flat first half of the course gives way to rollers in the second half of the race. Last year, Durbridge and Tuft went out hard and hoped to hang on for the finish. They employed a more conservative strategy to the opening kilometres this year.
“We went out really hard last year,” said Durbridge. “I ran out of legs toward the end and Svein carried us to the finish. This year, I tried to control myself more and ride a little bit more evenly.”
“When it gets hard toward the finish, good legs are needed all the way to the line,” Durbridge continued. “We learned from our mistakes and didn’t go out as hard so that we could hold our pace until the end.”
Although Durbridge, Tuft, Hepburn and Mouris did not do any specific training for the two-man event, all four riders were part of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s silver medal ride at the team time trial. They worked together as a group of six in the three weeks leading up to the World Championships.
“When you do a three week team time trial training camp leading into worlds, there’s not much else that needs to be done,” explained Durbridge. “Our training doesn’t need to get any more specific than that. I think we did one ride together last week and then rocked up today ready to race.”
Tuft’s season ends in France while Durbridge looks ahead to Il Lombardia and Tour of Beijing to close out his second year in the professional ranks.
“It was definitely the goal to break the record today,” said Durbridge. “It’s a great way to finish off things. We knew we could have a better ride than we did last year, and we came out here and did exactly that.”
“Heppy and Jens did a good ride, too,” Durbridge added. “They rode a similar time to what we did last year – a little faster, actually. It shows we’re all on good form coming off the World Championships. I think we’re all happy to run first and, and it’s nice to get one up on Omega, who came in third.”
Hepburn echoed Durbridge’s sentiments.
“Jens and I were super happy with our ride today,” Hepburn said. “The time we did was around the mark that normally wins this race but Durbo and Svein were on an absolute blinder today. We’re in good spirits running one-two.”
1. Svein Tuft/Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) 1:04:10
2. Jens Mouris/Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge) 1:20