Richie Porte has emulated Team Sky colleague Bradley Wiggins' achievement of 12 months ago in winning not only the final stage of Paris-Nice, a time trial from Nice to the top of the Col d'Eze, but in doing so sealing his overall win in the Race to the Sun. Porte becomes the first Australian to win the race.
While Wiggins was pushed all the way last year by Vacansoleil-DCM's Lieuwe Westra, 28-year-old Tasmanian Porte was never in trouble today, posting a time of 19 minutes 17 seconds for the 9.6 kilometre climb, 22 seconds ahead of the second placed finisher, Andrew Talansky of Garmin-Sharp. Movistar's Nairo Quintana posted the third fastest time today.
Talansky, aged 24, has the consolation of the best young rider's white jersey at the end of a week that has underlined his huge potential, while Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Sylvain Chavanel, winner of the sprint finish on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice yesterday, was ninth quickest today and wins the points competition. Swiss rider Johann Tschopp of Professional Continental outfit IAM takes the mountains jersey.
Paris-Nice finished with a time trial stage to Col d'Eze every year from 1969 to 1995, but prior to its reappearence in the race to mark the 70th edition of the event last year, it had not featured since 2001, when it was ridden on the penultimate stage.
“I just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice," said Porte afterwards. "For me personally I’ve never had a nice experience at this race so it’s a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it.
“I woke up this morning and I knew that I had good legs," added Porte, who lives just down the road in Monaco and as a result knows the Col d'Eze climb better than most.
"After the armchair ride that I got from the team yesterday – as well as on stage five and for the entire week – I knew I’d be in good shape. The guys were just incredible this race.
“I don’t feel like I’m ready to lead at a Grand Tour yet. My goal is to go to the Tour and support Chris [Froome] and Brad [Wiggins]. Do that and maybe next year I could potentially lead Team Sky at the Giro,” he concluded.
Paris-Nice Stage 7 result 1 PORTE Richie SKY PROCYCLING 19' 16'' 2 TALANSKY Andrew GARMIN - SHARP + 00' 23'' 3 QUINTANA Nairo Alexander MOVISTAR TEAM + 00' 27'' 4 PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 32'' 5 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM + 00' 52'' 6 SPILAK Simon KATUSHA TEAM + 00' 55'' 7 ULISSI Diego LAMPRE - MERIDA + 01' 00'' 8 SCARPONI Michele LAMPRE - MERIDA + 01' 03'' 9 CHAVANEL Sylvain OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP + 01' 05'' 10 IZAGIRRE Ion EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI + 01' 06'' 11 KLÖDEN Andréas RADIOSHACK LEOPARD + 01' 16'' 12 JEANNESSON Arnold FDJ + 01' 17'' 13 COPPEL Jérôme COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS + 01' 17'' 14 LOPEZ David SKY PROCYCLING + 01' 18'' 15 DENIFL Stephan IAM CYCLING + 01' 25'' 16 MOINARD Amaël BMC RACING TEAM + 01' 26'' 17 LOSADA Alberto KATUSHA TEAM + 01' 30'' 18 MORENO Javier MOVISTAR TEAM + 01' 31'' 19 MENCHOV Denis KATUSHA TEAM + 01' 32'' 20 WESTRA Lieuwe VACANSOLEIL-DCM + 01' 35'' Overall standings after Stage 7 1 PORTE Richie SKY PROCYCLING 29h 59' 47'' 2 TALANSKY Andrew GARMIN - SHARP + 00' 55'' 3 PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 01' 21'' 4 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM + 01' 44'' 5 CHAVANEL Sylvain OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP + 01' 47'' 6 SPILAK Simon KATUSHA TEAM + 01' 48'' 7 ULISSI Diego LAMPRE - MERIDA + 01' 54'' 8 WESTRA Lieuwe VACANSOLEIL-DCM + 02' 17'' 9 KLÖDEN Andréas RADIOSHACK LEOPARD + 02' 22'' 10 VELITS Peter OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP + 02' 28''
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.