Durbridge bags Bay Classic stage win
It took enough attacks to start a war, but West Australian Luke Durbridge finally accomplished Orica-GreenEDGE's mission at the Bay Cycling Classic.
The Australian uber-team had never won a men's stage of the criterium series until Wednesday, when Durbridge powered to victory after an aggressive ride including two breakaways and sundry efforts to shake off his rivals eventually paid off.
The 21-year-old celebrated wildly after crossing the line to win stage two of the three-race series around a testing course at Portarlington on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula.
With teenage NSW sensation Caleb Ewan retaining the yellow jersey for overall leader going into Thursday's final stage, Durbridge revealed that for him and his team, finally breaking the team's Bay Classic stage drought was a key goal for the event.
"It was good to get a win for Orica - it's the first Bay Crit we've won," Durbridge said.
"We're just here trying to get some stages. I'm not super-worried about the overall."
Orica-GreenEDGE rider Allan Davis won last year's Bay Classic, but did so without winning a stage.
Durbridge beat home Briton Kristian House and New Zealand's James Oram - the trio spending the second half of the race duelling among themselves well clear of the peloton.
Australian time trial champion Durbridge, who sits second overall, doesn't feel the course around Williamstown in Melbourne's west on Thursday will suit his style.
But 18-year-old Ewan, who won around the course last year, knows exactly what it will take to go one better than his overall second place in last year's Bay Classic.
The Bikebug rider won the opening stage around Geelong's Eastern Beach on Tuesday.
He remains in the box seat for a series victory which would confirm his status as one of Australian cycling's coming men.
"That's what we wanted after today. No one in that break was really a threat from yesterday," Ewan said of his sixth place behind Durbridge.
"I feel good and I've got good confidence going into tomorrow.
"It's one of the hardest courses if you're out of position, but the key to it is stay at the front and not get pushed too far back."
Ewan will also have experienced teammate Jonathan Cantwell, one of the best lead-out riders in the business, to do his bidding.