September 29/10 10:10 am - Road World Championships - U23 Men's ITT report and photos
Posted by Editoress on 09/29/10
The Under-23 men's time trial featured a close battle betweeen favoured Taylor Phinney (USA) and the Australian favourite Luke Durbridge. Phinney took the title by a scant 1.90 seconds over Durbridge, with Marcel Kittel (Germany) finishing third. The two Canadian entries, David Boily and Hugo Houle, finished 25th and 32nd respectively.
The U23 men had to tackle two laps of a 15.9 kilometre circuit that was dominated by two significant climbs, a tricky descent and bridge crossing, plus gusting wind and rain squalls.
Durbridge, the seventh rider off in the 41 rider field, quickly established himself as the man to beat, setting what would turn out to be the fastest lap of the day in his first lap. He slowed slightly in his second lap, perhaps partially due to a rain squall that made many of the corners treacherous.
"To come pretty close to the win in my home worlds, 1.9 seconds, I am pretty stoked anyway. The win would have been nice but it was not to be. But hey, I have got next year and bigger things to come hopefully, so I am pretty stoked."
Durbridge's time would hold up through over half of the remaining riders before Phinney finally bumped him out of the Hot Seat. Durbridge was the fastest over the first lap, and through the first split of the second lap, but Phinney was steadily gaining ground at each time check.
Ninth fastest at 6.6 kilometres and 32 seconds back, the Individual Pursuit World Champion was up to second place and 17 seconds behind at the end of lap one. By the 22.4 kilometre split he was 4.8 seconds back, and the long downhill run into the finish allowed him to overtake Durbridge for the title.
"I had heard that Durbridge went out a little bit too hard and his second lap was considerably slower than his first lap," explained Phinney, "so I was okay coming through the first lap coming in a bit slower than him. I just knew that I had to keep my pace. In that first lap I was definitely trying to conserve but once I got into the second lap I was pretty much giving it everything I had. It was such a hard course with a lot of lactate in the legs and I knew that I had the best time with about five kilometres to go but I didn't know how close it was. But by then you are giving it everything you got anyways."
"I was very relieved. I had a lot of people telling me I was a shoe-in for the win here, which is almost the worst to hear coming into the race, because you feel like you have to win or you are going to disappoint. I knew that I had a chance, but I knew that there is so much talent in the U23 field right now that it was going to be difficult. It is also not exactly a course that suits us big guys up here, but somehow we all came out on top. I really had to dig deep but I am really happy to come away with the win even if Durbridge has an excuse because he finished in the rain."
Durbridge shares an interesting statistic with Fabian Cancellara - both finished second in the time trial in their first year as a U23 rider, and Durbridge now becomes the youngest U23 rider to appear on the podium, 33 days younger than Cancellara.
Canadian Interviews by Monique Hanley
Hugo Houle - 32nd at +3:50.01
How was your ride?
"It was very hard. The climbing was very hard. The Australian (silver medallist Luke Durbridge) passed me after one lap, and I was like, f***, he is too fast!"
Did you go out too hard?
"No, I just kept my pace. I tried to give everything I had."
How was the weather?
"The weather was okay. The wind was not too hard on the downhill which was good, but the course was very, very hard. The course was hard and technical on the corners, especially with the rain. It was hard to know what speed to take [on the corners], because on one lap it would be dry and the other lap would be in the rain."
"It was a good experience. This is my first U23 World Champsionships after competing in the Juniors. A good experience for next year and the other years to come. And I have nothing else to say! The legs were good."
David Boily - 25th at +3:06.25
You had a good second lap. How were you feeling?
"I had good legs today and very good preparation in the last few weeks. It was a very good first experience [at the World Championships] and I am looking forward to the next few years."
You were very relaxed before the start. Is that a normal response to nerves?
"Yeah, yeah, I always need to be relaxed [before the start of the race] with a few jokes before going on the bike. I perform better without any stress."
How was the course and weather?
"The course was good. The new bridge was kinda sketchy because you couldn't see over the corner, but apart from that it was a very fun course and the hill was very good for me. For me, the course was completely dry so I could give more speed in the corners so for me, those conditions were better than those [who rode] in the rain."
"I am having a very good time in Melbourne - a very sunny day today with not bad temperature - and I am looking forward to the road in two days."