Porte savours first win in leader's jersey at the Tour Down Under

“Attack is the best form of defence,” says Tasmanian

Attack proved to be the best form of defence for Richie Porte as he distanced his rivals on Willunga Hill to take his second stage win of the Tour Down Under and first in the leader's ochre jersey.

Following his Paracombe win on Wednesday, the 31-year-old had his poker face on until the final half of the Willunga Hill climb on Saturday afternoon when he launched his familiar and vicious attack to take a commanding lead going into Sunday's 90km street circuit. While the battle is on for the podium with just 11 seconds separating second place through to fifth. Porte's 48-second lead over Esteban Chaves is monumental in comparison.

"It was the hardest one I've had so far. Attack is the best form of defence and I didn't want to go so early. I don't think I have attacked that early on Willunga. I was in a world of pain there in that final part," Porte said of his move to take the victory.

"You can look at your power meter and all this sort of stuff but I think the best sign for me was when I looked at the other guys and they were more stuffed than I was so it was the perfect moment to go.”

Failing no mechanicals or bad luck, which have plagued Porte in recent seasons, he is on the cusp of securing the second biggest winning margin in the race's history behind Pat Jonker's 2004 triumph.

"Tomorrow is not a procession. I am in a good position but you have to stay out of trouble. I just want to finish it off tomorrow without any issues. I have always wanted to win this race. I remember doing this race in 2008 with UniSA and I have said it before, I would love to have my name on the honour roll," said Porte, who will in all likely hood claim a sixth stage race victory of his career on Sunday afternoon and see his name engraved into the steps of the race's Hilton hotel headquarters.

First victory in the leader’s ochre jersey

Having won two stages of the 2013 and 2015 editions of Paris-Nice on the way to overall victory, Porte has continued the tradition of double stage win success in another odd number year. At the French WorldTour race, Porte won the final time trial wearing the leader's yellow jersey. His Willunga Hill win though was the first time he as won a road stage in a leader's jersey since turning professional, boosting his confidence and credentials as he eyes off the Tour de France podium in July.

"You get paid to win races so when you can finish them off like that, it is a great feeling. It gives me a lot of confidence going into July and the Tour de France. I would love to go there and have a really good crack at this year," said Porte who last overall was the 2015 Giro del Trentino.

While it was Porte who finished off the job to win number four, he was sure to describe the vital importance of his teammates in starting off their 2017 working relationship in the best possible manner.

"The teams been absolutely awesome with me after the Tour last year and supporting me," said Porte of his teammates, including 2015 Tour Down Under winner Rohan Dennis. "They sent quite a few of the guys who will ride the Tour de France here and we're getting along really well. It is a long way to the Tour so the more we can race together and get to now each other; it's a good sign.

“"There is still quite a few to come in but then you get a guy like Fran Ventoso who’s just come in this year from another team and the work he's done... He rode on the front all day today and was the only guy to ride all day. Guys like that are obviously putting their hand up."

 

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