We start the cycling year off with a 45km ITT, for the Australian National Championship.
Luke Durbridge won in 2013, over 37km. This year the route is harder.
The top 4 in 2013 were Durbridge, Dennis, Matthews and Porte. They were separated by 48 seconds, with Durbridge winning by 21 seconds from Dennis.
Durbridge raced the Bay Crits and looked very strong, getting in the break on stage 1 and winning in a break on stage 3. It was looking like perfect preparation but he had to withdraw from stage 4 with a sore throat. He described it as a “tickle”, but these things have a habit of getting worse. We will just have to wait to see his condition.
Rohan Dennis returns and after finishing second here last year, he’ll try and go one better. He was in great form in 2013 and finished 2nd in the ITT at the Dauphine.
Matthews and Porte are not riding but stepping up from under 23 is the brilliant, Damien Howson. He not only won the Australian under 23 title, but also the World under 23 title, in September.
Michael Hepburn, who finished 4th in 2012, returns to the ITT and could also threaten the top 3 and another regular in the top 10 is Will Clarke.
I think it will be too much for Howson to step up immediately and win (but he should podium), so it should be a straight fight between Dennis and Durbridge.
The man nicknamed “Turbo Durbo” is trying to win the title for the 3rd consecutive year, can Dennis, or a cold beat him?