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Porte suggests Sky-BMC alliance to loosen Gerrans Tour Down Under grip

By:
Aaron S. Lee
Published:
January 22, 2014, 6:35 GMT,
Updated:
January 22, 2014, 6:46 GMT
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Race:
Santos Tour Down Under
Richie Porte (Team Sky)

Richie Porte (Team Sky)

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Sky GC leader offers solution to unseat GreenEdge

With time running out for general classification contenders to supplant two-time race winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) from atop the leader board, Richie Porte, one of four Australian pre-race favourites which included Gerrans, Cadel Evans and Rohan Dennis, has suggested the unthinkable – a possible alliance with his soon-to-be Giro d'Italia rival – Cadel Evans (BMC).

Gerrans' second-place finish behind Lampre's Diego Ulissi extended his lead by another two seconds over Evans, now 13-seconds, and six seconds over Dennis and Porte at 21 seconds, Porte jokingly said he that brought up the possibility of working together to unseat Gerrans with Evans during the latter half of the 150-kilometre stage two starting in Prospect and ending after two laps in Stirling.

"It's going to be hard to beat Simon," said Porte, the 2013 Paris-Nice winner and Sky's GC contender for the Giro. "He's in some great form at the moment. But I'd love to be on the podium in my home race.

Porte, who crossed the line sixth on the stage, has been virtually silent during the first two stages, but could make some noise on stage three's infamous Corkscrew Hill.

"Our team were absolutely brilliant at the front all day," said Porte. "We probably have the strongest climbing team here. We rode the last 3km maybe a little bit too hard for the pure sprinters to get over.

"Ulissi is not slow by any means," he added. "He's obviously in pretty good form at the moment and we'll see what happens. Tomorrow is really going to be decisive for the GC."

When Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White was asked about a potential Sky and BMC alliance, he quickly responded "Good luck."

"It will be every man for himself from the top of that Corkscrew to the bottom and there is no time to organise anything," said White of the 2.4km, category one climb with an average gradient of nine per cent. "No one is dropping Simon Gerrans."

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