• Richie Porte will race less in Europe this year ahead of the Tour de France. (AAP)
Time to party for Mitchelton-Scott as Daryl Impey makes Tour Down Under history and Mat Hayman ends his professional cycling career. Plus, Richie Porte reveals he will race less in Europe ahead of the Tour de France.
By
AAP

21 Jan - 8:54 AM  UPDATED 21 Jan - 9:00 AM

For Daryl Impey and his Mitchelton-Scott teammates, it's party time.

Already keen to mark the end of Mat Hayman's professional cycling career with a big Sunday night, the Australian team added to the celebrations by making history at the Tour Down Under.

Impey rode brilliantly in Sunday's last stage to become the first rider in 21 Tours to win consecutive titles.

The South African dedicated his title to Hayman, the much-respected Paris-Roubaix winner who retired at the end of the Tour after a 20-year career.

"Especially with it being Matty Hayman's last race, this is special and we were going to celebrate tonight anyway," Impey said.

Impey came to this year's Tour with a heavy heart, after his good friend Justin Bitter had a heart attack and died at the start of the month.

He dedicated his crucial stage-three win to Bitter.

"There's no doubt that coming into the race, I was pretty down," Impey said.

"But we have a great team and the guys picked me up.

"There were a lot of family back home - do it for Justin - and we did.

"I'm so happy."

Capping a superb week-long performance from the team, young Australian Lucas Hamilton paced Impey up the final climb.

The South African finished third on the stage, with the same time as Willunga winner Richie Porte, and that was more than enough to secure the title.

"Man, if I didn't have Lucas there in the final, I definitely wouldn't have been that close to Richie in the end," Impey said.

"He's a young rider, but a bit of potential.

"The whole team, it's not only one guy - it's very important to state that Lucas and I can do our job in the final because of great teamwork."

Impey also paid tribute to New Zealander Patrick Bevin, who led him by seven seconds going into the last stage.

But Bevin's hopes were cruelled by his crash on Saturday and he quickly dropped out of contention on the Willunga climb.

"He's got guts - coming to the start line today, you could see he was hurting," Impey said.

"Definitely in this bike race, he's probably been the most consistent and he would have been a really deserving winner."

Impey's win comes after Mitchelton-Scott star Amanda Spratt won the Santos Women's Tour in Adelaide a week ago for the third-straight year.

It means Mitchelton-Scott's near misses in the elite road races a fortnight ago at the Australian championships are ancient history.

New pre-Tour de France plan pleases Porte

Richie Porte hopes less racing early in the European season translates into better form at the Tour de France.

The Australian cycling star has made a great start at new team Trek-Segafredo by winning the Tour Down Under's Queen stage at Willunga and finishing second overall.

The Tasmanian appreciates that his new bosses at Trek are giving him more latitude, letting him train at home in Launceston with teammate Will Clarke ahead of the Tour Down Under.

Porte will end his Australian block in Victoria with next Sunday's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road race and then the Herald Sun Tour before heading to Europe.

His main early-season target will be Paris-Nice, which he has won twice and then Porte will concentrate on training before building up again for the July Tour de France.

The first obvious step for Porte at the Tour de France will be to make it through stage nine, where he has crashed out of the race in the last two years.

He aims to be the first Australian to finish on the Tour podium since Cadel Evans' historic 2011 title.

"We have a good plan ... it's just going to be a little bit more time at home, to train, and then hit the Criterium Dauphine and the Tour in good form," he said.

"The team is letting me do that.

"It's nice to wind down a bit and not have the pressure of racing, be able to stay at home and do a good training block.

"It's proven that it works for other guys."

Porte has parted ways with long-time trainer David Bailey, who has gone to Bahrain Merida.

They worked together at BMC, which effectively folded at the end of last season and morphed into the CCC Team.

Porte's new performance manager at Trek-Segafredo is Spaniard Josu Larrazabal.

"He said coming in that we don't need to change much - I go back to Tassie and do some good training," Porte said.

""We (Porte and Clarke) have been low-key, flying under the radar, but we've done some good training and it's nice that the team has the faith in me.

"They know I will go back there and do a good block."

Porte was rapt to win Willunga again and said unless there is another summit finish in the Tour Down Under, he is unlikely to add to his 2017 overall title.

"It was probably the most challenging win at Willunga for me," he said.

"It's just a nice way to start with Trek-Segafredo.

"Obviously it would have been nice to win the GC here, but it's not a race really that's suited to me.

"It's maybe taken a change in teams to realise that, but unless there's another hilltop finish."