• Santos Tour Down Under 2017 champion. (Kathryn Watt - Watt Shotz Photagraphy)Source: Kathryn Watt - Watt Shotz Photagraphy
Richie Porte confirmed his first career Santos Tour Down Under overall victory as Caleb Ewan again proved unbeatable on the final stage of the 2017 race.
By
Cycling Central

22 Jan 2017 - 4:11 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2017 - 6:26 PM

Porte and Ewan were the story of the race, combining to win every stage forcing the rest of the peloton to dine out on the scraps.

Porte finished 48 seconds ahead of Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) after both riders played it safe with enhanced team support to the finish.

"It's just incredible to come back here and win after being so close the past two years," Porte said. I really owe to my team-mates, they got me across the line and it's a massive credit to them.

"After crashing in Rio and injuring myself it wasn't too hard to be motivated for this race. I had a good break at the end of last season and I've come back refreshed physically and mentally. To win this race means a lot."

Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) completed the final podium positions on countback after winning the early intermediate sprint to pick up three seconds and level with Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) on time.

“I’m super happy, we had the plan to go for the intermediate in the team meeting this morning and it worked," McCarthy said.

"I have to thank the team so much. We controlled it from the start and made sure the breakaway wasn’t gone for the intermediate. Having the current World Champion, Peter Sagan, leading me out, is bloody awesome, so I’m really happy I’m on the podium.”

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Ewan closed out the final stage in his usual high-speed fashion, again beating Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Marko Kump (UAE Abu Dhabi) to the line at the end of the 90km, 20 lap circuit in Adelaide.

The victory was Ewan's fourth of the Tour earling him the points classification red jersey.

"Coming into this Tour I joked with my girlfriend that I'd win four stages and I can't really believe I have with the calibre of sprinter here," Ewan said.

"It was always going to be hard beating Peter Sagan even if he's not in his best form he's still the best rider in the world."

While essentially a procession, the final stage featured an early breakaway by Tomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Gianluca Brambilla (Quick-Step Floors), who established a 30-second lead before they were hauled in.

Seven others managed to get away from the peloton about halfway through the stage, establishing a 58-second gap and held on until the penultimate lap when the last of the group, Jack Bauer (Quick-Step Floors), was reeled in for a final bunch sprint.

The polka dot mountains jersey was won by De Gendt while Team UniSA-Australia claimed the teams classification. Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha) was confirmed as the best young rider.