Richie Porte won his maiden elite national Australian time trial title on a wet Thursday afternoon ahead of Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Jack Bobridge (BudgetForklifts). Porte's time of 51:50 minutes on the 40.9km out and back course saw the Team Sky rider emerge victorious by seven seconds to start his season in the best way possible after a 2014 which was derailed by sickness.
"I just got engaged a few days and now to win this time trial against such a class field is fantastic," Porte told reporters after his win was confirmed. "The problem for me last year was my health and it looks like I am back on top of it and I’m thrilled to bits to win this. Look at what a great podium we’ve got and it was a great course for me and great to have Andrew Christie-Johnson of Avanti behind me was like being back in the old days which is fantastic."
Porte, who turns 30 at the end of this month, hadn't won a time trial since 2013 when he tasted success at the Critérium International. Just weeks after winning the decisive final Paris-Nice time trial to Col d'Eze which sealed his overall victory.
"I haven’t done a good time trial on a course like this for a long time and we’ve done a lot of work on my time trial position with the team so credit to Tim Kerrison who believed in me even after the disaster that was 2014 and I am absolutely thrilled to have this national jersey to race in over in Europe. It’s just exciting and I can’t wait," said Porte who last raced the national time trial in 2008, finishing fifth.
With two third places in the road race, Porte will start the 183km event as a favourite. If he wins, he would be the first rider since Luke Durbridge in 2013 to win both the time trial and road race and second ever in Australian history.
"I’d like to enjoy this one for the moment but tomorrow at 8am I am back out on the road bike for three hours and Sunday is a bit more of a lottery. We’ll see how the races play out and I can take confidence from this win and if that doesn’t work out I still have one jersey and a great team for Tour Down Under."
Bobridge was the first of the favourites to finish and didn't disappoint as he posted a new fastest time of 52:17 minutes to dispose Lachlan Norris (Drapac) from the hot seat. With Porte bring it home strong as the rain continued to fall, Bobridge didn't even make it onto the podium before he slipped to second overall. Race radio had Dennis on a similar time check to Porte but as the BMC rider entered the final straight, the time gap was too big to be overhauled and Porte's chances of the win increased.
Having been blown off his bike last year, Dennis ended the race with another second place to his name but in doing so, picked up his first national elite medal.
The Orica-GreenEdge trio of Damien Howson, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn were the last to start the race but there was no late drama in the piece. Michael Rogers snuck home in fifth place but was bumped down the standings as first Howson crossed the line almost a minute a half down on Porte to be followed by Durbridge who finished outside of the top three for the first time in his career as an elite cyclist.
Hepburn's title defence ended with the Queenslander placing seventh, just over two minutes down on Porte's time which ensured the proud Tasmanian could celebrate winning the green and gold jersey.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Richie Porte (TAS)||0:51:50|
|2||Rohan Dennis (SA)||0:00:07|
|3||Jack Bobridge (SA)||0:00:27|
|4||Luke Durbridge (WA)||0:01:12|
|5||Damien Howson (SA)||0:01:24|
|6||Campbell Flakemore (TAS)||0:01:47|
|7||Michael Hepburn (QLD)||0:02:05|
|8||Michael Rogers (ACT)||0:02:26|
|9||Ben Dyball (NSW)||0:02:28|
|10||Lachlan Norris (VIC)||0:02:34|
|11||Dylan Pierre-Humbert (WA)||0:02:46|
|12||William Clarke (TAS)||0:02:51|
|13||Nick Bensley (VIC)||0:02:57|
|14||Craig Evers (NSW)||0:02:58|
|15||Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (ACT)||0:03:42|
|16||Brodie Talbot (NSW)||0:03:50|
|17||Peter Milostic (NSW)||0:04:07|
|18||Stuart Smith (VIC)||0:04:14|
|19||Jayden Copp (QLD)||0:04:56|
|20||Jordan Kerby (QLD)|
|21||Jack Anderson (QLD)||0:04:59|
|22||Mitchell Mulhern (QLD)||0:05:09|
|23||Nicholas Squillari (VIC)||0:05:44|
|24||Michael Gallagher (VIC)||0:06:10|
|25||Mark Fagg (VIC)||0:06:14|
|26||Timothy Beardall (VIC)||0:06:19|
|27||David Kelly (VIC)||0:06:35|
|28||Stephen Lane (VIC)||0:06:43|
|29||Sean Lake (VIC)||0:06:55|
|30||Kyle Bridgwood (QLD)||0:07:31|
|31||Mark Facey (VIC)||0:08:57|
|32||Wood Adam (VIC)||0:09:03|
|33||Scott Nolan (SA)||0:11:06|
|34||David Fairburn (VIC)||0:16:09|
|35||Andrew Wai (NSW)||0:17:42|
|36||Brett Cottee (NSW)||0:27:30|
|DNF||Edward Bissaker (SA)|
|DNF||Rhys Gillett (VIC)|
|DNS||Aaron Donnelly (NSW)|
|DNS||Julian Jacobs (WA)|
|DNS||Adam Phelan (ACT)|
|DNS||Tyson Chambers (VIC)|
|DNS||Ali Foot (TAS)|