Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) placed third behind Alex Dowsett (Movistar) as provisional best in the Giro d'Italia time trail in Saltara today. He failed to win, as he has in many other tests, but gained valuable experience that he will take into his second year and behind.
"For sure, it counts as experience. This year, this first half of the year since the nationals has been pretty much about experience," Durbridge told Cycling Weekly. "If I finish the Giro I've done more race days than I did for the entire last year in my debut. Paris-Roubaix, the Giro and a lot of classics ... these are my goals."
Durbridge won the Circuit de la Sarthe and Tour du Poitou-Charentes stage races last year thanks to his time trial abilities. In the prologue at the Critérium du Dauphiné, a WorldTour event, he won ahead of Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
"This year, I have been getting the head kicked in a little bit," Durbridge added.
"Last year, I raced in smaller races were I could perform, but the step up to the ProTour [WorldTour] is a little different as well. But it's just a process, you have to go through.
"If I can come out of the Giro, in the second half of the season I really want to target the Eneco Tour and the Worlds - hopefully I will come out big and strong for those."
Durbridge rode the 54.8-kilometre time trial in 1 hour, 17 minutes and 2 seconds today. His time was just over 30 seconds slower than Dowsett's. Both riders are in their first Grand Tour.
Besides the Dauphiné, which was 53 kilometres, Durbridge has never ridden such a long time trial.
"I was as top 10 there, but it's a totally different event," Durbridge said. "Here, you start and you think you have to ride within yourself. You are looking down and going, 'I'm creeping.' But with 20 kilometres to go you've still got something in the tank and you know, 'Okay ... I've ridden it well.' It's not an ideal course for me - 1000 metres of climbing for an 80kg bloke is not ideal but ever time I go to a time trial I give it a good crack so."
The 22-year-old will continue to focus on helping his team-mates, including Matt Goss, win stages.
"The team has been monitoring how I am every morning. There is no use to getting to the end of the Giro in a coffin, so we're just going to see how I fare every day," Durbridge said.
"I am pretty much at the same as when I started the Giro, so that's a good sign."
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