Two years after he made Australian history by winning the 70th edition of the 'Race to the Sun', Richie Porte has written his name in the record books once more after clinching overall victory at Paris-Nice with a superlative ride on the Col d'Eze on Sunday.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Porte delivered the time trial both his form, and his past against the clock, dictated he would, finishing 13 seconds clear of Simon Spilak (Katusha), and 24 seconds ahead of Lampre-Merida's Rui Costa, to win the race's final stage comfortably, and quickly dispel any frustrations the Australian may have felt after yesterday's dramatic day in the mountains.

In winning the stage, the Australian time trial champion added his name to the Paris-Nice winner's list for the second time, following his 2013 victory, with best young rider, Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quickstep) and Spilak, completing the podium.

"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," said Porte.

"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."

In contrast to Porte's elation, yellow proved a heavy burden for overnight leader Tony Gallopin, who paid dearly for his solo stage success in Nice, Saturday. The Frenchman held a 36 second advantage over Porte before the day's final chrono test but was never in the running, shedding that and more by the halfway mark on the 9.5km ascent, and fading further by the time he reached the finish, an almost embarrassingly one-sided contest seeing Gallopin slide not just out of yellow, but off the final podium too.

Porte's overall victory was the product of his superb performances in the mountains, with a dominant ride to the summit of the Croix de Chaubouret, on Stage 4, foreshadowing the Australian's ascension to yellow. There was the mildest of hiccups on the race's penultimate stage when Porte's front wheel slid from beneath him on the descent off the Cote de Peille and he crashed. But, he scrambled quickly, and fortunate to be uninjured, was able to carry on.

The overall title would not be denied him on the Col d'Eze, a climb he knows all too well as a Nice resident, blasting up its meandering slopes in a time that fairly reflected his superiority at the race. The result comes after a strong start to the year from the 30 year old that's seen him win the Australian national time trial title, finish a narrow second at the Santos Tour Down Under, and a high finish last month at the Volta ao Algarve.

Porte's big objective of the year is the Giro d'Italia, where he's aiming to win the first Grand Tour of his career. He'll next head to Catalunya, before the Tour de Romandie, and finally, the Giro d'Italia.

Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Belisol) won the mountains classification, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) the points, and Kwiatkowski picked up the best young rider.

Porte also collects the WorldTour lead, overtaking Rohan Dennis (BMC).

 

Stage 7: 9.6km, Nice-Col d'Eze
1 Richie Porte (AUS) Team Sky 20min 23sec
2 Simon Spilak (SVK) Katusha 00:00:13
3 Rui Costa (POR) Lampre-Merida 00:00:24
4 Tony Martin (GER) Eitxx-QuickStep 00:00:29
5 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Etixx-QuickStep
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin 00:00:37
7 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky 0:00:39
8 Jon Izagirre (ESP) Movistar 0:00:50
9 Tim Wellens (BEL) Lotto Soudal 0:00:54
10 Gorka Izagirre (ESP) Movistar 0:00:55

General Classification
1 Richie Porte (AUS) Team Sky 29hr 10min 41sec
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Etixx-QuickStep 0:00:30
3 Simon Spilak (SVK) Katusha
4 Rui Costa (POR) Lampre-Merida
5 Geraint Thomas (GBR) Team Sky 0:00:41
6 Tony Gallopin (FRA) Lotto-Soudal 0:01:03
7 Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana 0:01:05
8 Rafael Valls (ESP) Lampre-Merida 0:01:24
9 Gorka Izagirre (ESP) Movistar 0:01:38
10 Tim Wellens (BEL) Lotto Soudal 0:02:18