At the Tour Down Under in January, Richie Porte soloed to victory on Willunga Hill but fell two seconds shy of taking the overall lead. On the fourth stage of Paris-Nice to the Croix de Chaubouret, Porte once again fell short of taking the overall lead in Paris-Nice after claiming the summit finish victory ahead of teammate Geraint Thomas but the Australian is in prime position to seal overall victory on Sunday with the 9.5km time trial up the Cold d'Éze just as he did in 2013.
At the WorldTour opener in Australia, the climb up Willunga was Porte's last chance to wrest the ochre jersey off Rohan Dennis (BMC) while in France, he will start the final stage confident of his climbing and time trial abilities to secure victory and erase the disappointment of Adelaide from his mind, but not before "two more hard days" in the saddle.
In 2013, Porte's Paris-Nice success was built on his stage five victory to La Montagne de Lure and sealed with his win on the Col d'Èze two days later in the yellow jersey. As the Australian national time trial champion, Porte will start the final stage in a yellow and green jersey but is aiming for a different maillot jaune after the test against the clock.
"I love Col d'Éze, I did very well on it two years ago, I hope to do it again. I love Paris-Nice, it's a very important race for me. It would be good to take the yellow jersey back on the last day. We'll see how it goes," Porte told letour.fr. "It was an amazing team work and finish first and second is just fantastic. Two years ago I won this race on a mountain stage and now we have two hard stages ahead of us before Col d'Eze.
"With Geraint and I up there on the general classification now, it’s good to have two cards to play," Porte added.
Once Porte and Thomas crossed the line, attention turned to the whereabouts of world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx - Quick-Step) who was just eight seconds slower than the Team Sky duo. The four bonus seconds on the line for Kwiatkowski was enough to take back the yellow jersey from Michael Matthews after his prologue win saw him lead the race for three days before losing it on stage three.
With Kwiatkowski in yellow, Porte and Sky avoid the responsibility of controlling the peloton and the daily visit to the podium and can focus on securing an one-two on general classification on Sunday night.
After just one win all season last year, Porte already has four victories to his name in 2015, more than any other Team Sky rider at this point of the year.