Team Sky’s Richie Porte has won Paris-Nice for the second time in three years – and as he did in 2013, when he succeeded Sir Bradley Wiggins as winner, he sealed his victory in cycling’s most prestigious stage one-week race by winning the concluding time trial to the Col d’Eze above Nice.
Meanwhile, team-mate Geraint Thomas, winner of last month’s Volta ao Algarve, confirmed his growing strength as a stage racer by clinching fifth place overall, confirming he is in strong form ahead of the major Spring Classics.
Katusha’s Simon Spilak, second today, claimed third place on the podium behind runner-up Michal Kwiatkowski of Etixx-Quick Step, both men 30 seconds down on Porte.
Both Porte and Thomas, who had pulled off a Sky one-two on Thursday’s Stage 4 to Croix de Chaubouret, crashed towards the end of yesterday’s penultimate stage into Nice, won with a solo attack by Lotto-Soudal’s Tony Gallopin.
That victory put Gallopin into the race leader’s yellow jersey, but on today’s uphill time trial he was unlikely to be able to defend an advantage of just 36 seconds over Porte, sporting the green and gold bands of Australian national TT champion, and so it proved.
Afterwards Porte, like Thomas a resident of nearby Monaco, told the Team Sky website: “Credit to Tony [Gallopin]. I was a little bit nervous going into the day. Geraint and I threw time away yesterday – we were in a fantastic position, and for both of us to crash like we did wasn’t ideal. To win today though, is a fantastic feeling.
“It means a lot to me to be a two-time winner of an iconic race like Paris-Nice, and this one feels even sweeter than the last one because it was so hard. They threw everything at us yesterday, and to win on the top of the Col d’Eze this year, like I did in 2013, is incredible.
With results including Thomas’s win in the Algarve and Ian Stannard’s successful defence of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last month, Porte’s win today continues Sky’s strong start to the season following what, by its own standards, was a difficult 2014.
Porte added: “We have a fantastic team at Team Sky with Wout Poels winning at Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday and Chris Froome set to come back in. It’s good because we had a roller coaster season last year and we’re definitely back now,” he added.
Paris-Nice concluded with a time trial on the Col d’Eze each year from 1969 to 1995, but since then it has only featured as the final stage on three occasions, each won by a Sky rider –Wiggins in 2012, when it was reintroduced to mark the race’s 70th edition, and Porte in 2013 and again today.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.