Australia’s Richie Porte has won the Criterium du Dauphine in France, claiming the title after two previous runner-up finishes.
The Tasmanian took the yellow vest into Sunday’s eighth and final stage and he secured the victory with a controlled ride through the Alps to Les Gets.
Riding for Ineos Grenadiers, Port went into the final stage from La Lechere-les-Bains to Les Gets in the overall lead, and he finished 17 seconds clear of nearest rival Alexey Lutsenko of Astana-Premier Tech.
Porte’s team mate and 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas took third spot after overcoming a late crash.
“I’ve been second twice … I also lost the second place in the final kilometre another year. So to finally win it, I’m over the moon,” Porte said after the race.
“All the sacrifices with my wife and my two kids, it’s worth it. And with Ineos Grenadiers, this team was unbelievable today.”
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) June 6, 2021
Thomas suffered a scare ahead of the Tour de France starting later this month when he crashed on the descent on the final climb, but he recovered well to help team mate Porte make it safely to the finish line.
“When I saw Geraint crash it wasn’t ideal for the last six kilometres. He has some pretty bad road rash, but he’ll be tip top for the Tour,” Porte added.
Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious) claimed his second stage win in two days, and the 24-year-old also took the mountain classification after powering past his rivals early in the day.
The Ukrainian slipped away from his breakaway companions with 30 kilometres remaining and never looked back, taking the stage win to round off the finest weekend of his career.
🇦🇺👍🏻 Thumbs up if you just became the second Australian to win the #Dauphiné!
— AusCyclingTeam (@AusCyclingTeam) June 6, 2021
The prestigious eight-day Dauphine is a key proving ground for the Tour de France, in which 36-year-old Porte finished third in 2020.
Porte is the second Australian to win the race after Phil Anderson in 1985.