Porte wins Stage 3 into Paracombe and moves into the overall race lead
If there was any hint of Richie Porte feeling the weight of home-country pressure, he certainly didn’t show it as he flew up the steep climb to Paracombe to claim the win and the ochre leader’s jersey in Stage 3 at the Santos Tour Down Under.
“Firstly, the team had a fantastic day. I have to take my cap off to those boys; they put all their faith in me today. They did a really good job of controlling,” said Porte. “To take another victory on a stage like this is a great feeling.”
The Trek-Segafredo team rode the front for a big part of the 131-kilometer stage and positioned Porte in the front into the right-hand turn of the finish climb.
“The strategy was to have as many guys up there into the bottom, and they did a super job,” continued Porte. “Some of these younger guys are prepared to take much bigger risks than us older guys, it was a hectic run-in to the climb, but the guys put me in such a good position.”
Trek-Segafredo neo-pro Juan Pedro López then upped the pace with Porte on his wheel. It was all Porte needed. When he accelerated, no one responded.
“López did a fantastic job. I felt good at the bottom of the climb and got a bit of a gap there. It was a shame it was such a headwind in the finale as I think we could have done some real damage, ” explained Porte.
The headwind didn’t favor us, and without that we could have really done some damage on GC.
Porte now leads the race with a small six-second lead over Daryl Impey and he was quick to point out that the race is far from over.
“Daryl is still the man to beat, I think. Historically this has been the queen stage, but two more stages before Willunga – the race is not over yet. There’s time bonuses on the road as well, and I expect that Mitchelton will go for them.
“I had to go when I went even with the headwind – there was nothing else you could do but get a decent gap. I would have liked to have taken a little more time on Daryl, and I think I lost a bit of time there [when it flattened] in the last 300 meters.
“But you have to take the victories when you can, and I will savor this one. I am happy to get the win today for the team. The thing is I felt good, and that bodes well for the next few days.”
2017 was the last time the Santos Tour of Under visited the Paracombe climb, and it was Porte who won the tough uphill finish and also went on to win the overall.
“Yeah, I won in 2017,” said Porte, “and also back in 2015 when Cadel Evans and myself were sort of looking at each other and Rohan (Dennis) came from behind and smacked us and won the stage and the Tour, so to win again this year is a sweet feeling.”
If six consecutive wins make one a King of Willunga, can two straight wins, even three years apart, lay claim for Porte being the Prince of Paracombe?
We think so.