Sport Cycling Tour Down Under: Win sets up Richie Porte for a big year in 2020

Tour Down Under: Win sets up Richie Porte for a big year in 2020

Richie Porte with the spoils of victory in the Tour Down Under on Sunday. Photo: AAP
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Tour Down Under champion Richie Porte doesn’t know if winning the Tour de France is possible at this stage of his career, but he’s going to have a crack.

If he was to pull it off, the Trek-Segafredo rider, turning 35 this month, would be the oldest winner in almost a century.

Porte is in fine shape for what might be the biggest campaign of his decorated cycling career after securing his second Tour Down Under overall win in South Australia on Sunday.

Porte, after crashing out of the Tour de France twice and finishing 11th last year, will be a leader for Trek-Segafredo in July before targeting gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

He put a difficult 2019 behind him by preparing for the new season with two months at home in Tasmania, training with friends, and the move is already paying dividends.

“It’s a fantastic way to start the year,” Porte said after his Tour Down Under win.

“Everyone’s got their opinions on peaking and this and that. But being from Australia, to win the Tour Down Under is a great satisfaction and I won’t let anybody take that away.

I’ve worked hard for this and now I know I can still win bike races, so it’s good for the season coming.

“(Tour Down Under) is a fantastic race to win and I’ll go back to Europe and hopefully keep the ball rolling.

“The most motivating thing is to win races, so I’ll hopefully take that with me.”

Porte overhauled two-time defending champion Daryl Impey secure his first Tour Down Under overall win since 2017.

He crossed the line second behind British upstart Matt Holmes on his pet stage at Willunga Hill, ending a six-year reign on the brutal climb.

Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) had taken a two-second lead into the sixth and final stage but was unable to go with Porte up the hill.

“I wasn’t on a great day today,” Impey said.

“I struggled a bit there, the bottom of the slopes, and I was probably paying for quite a busy week.

“That being said, we gave it our all and I’m still happy with the performance, but obviously disappointed.

“We would’ve liked more, but that’s how it goes.”

Holmes, a Lotto-Soudal teammate of Australian sprint star Caleb Ewan, ended Porte’s domination of Willunga with a thrilling burst in the final sprint and secured his first World Tour stage win in the process.

“You know everyone’s on the limit, so I just rode hard and sensible,” Holmes said.

“I just had to go with Richie when he came past.

“He had obviously gone a hell of a lot quicker than me up (the climb) so he had no sprint left.”

–AAP

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