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Porte ready for the Giro d’Italia after Trentino victory

Richie Porte left the Giro del Trentino with several trays of Melinda apples and the confidence and fitness he needs for the rapidly approaching Giro d’Italia.

Porte finished safely in the peloton at the finish of the final stage in Cles won by Paolo Tiralongo (Astana).

He and his Team Sky teammates set up overall success with a strong ride in the opening team time trial on Tuesday and then Porte took control of the race by winning stage 2 with a solo attack on the climb to the finish in Brentonico. In a race that became a test of strength between Team Sky and Astana, Porte finished 22 seconds ahead of Mikel Landa, with his Team Sky teammate Leopold König third overall at 58 seconds. Porte’s former teammate and now Astana rider Dario Cataldo was fourth overall at 1:11. They are all likely to clash at the Giro d’Italia.

Porte followed on from fellow Australia Cadel Evans in the Giro del Trentino roll of honour. He was proud of that achievement but was happier that he had wrapped up victory and could confidently count down the days to the start of the Giro d’Italia on May 9.

“It’s a relief to finish it off today. It wasn’t an easy stage,” he said in his final winner’s press conference. “We didn’t stop for a natural break, so it was a fast day. Mikel Landa tried some attacks too, so it was anything but a stress-free day. But the team was fantastic again and made it as easy as possible for me.”

Porte showed his excellent form for the Giro d’Italia, striking a psychological blow on key rivals Fabio Aru (Astana), who was struck by a nasty stomach virus and so unable to ride the Giro del Trentino.

“It’s always nice to win any race and it would have been nice if a few more Giro favourites had been here but you can only race guys who turn up,” Porte said, scoring a few l points on his Italian rival.

“If you look back at the last two years, Vincenzo won here and at the Giro, and the history of this race shows it is a race to do before the Giro. My form is good and it’s been a fantastic preparation race for the Giro d’Italia. I’m happy about where I am and I was feeling better each day. Now it’s two weeks until the Giro starts. I can go home, rest, recover and take great comfort from this result. I’ll just recover and mix in a few hard days in there to see where my form is but I feel good going into the Giro.”

Porte won’t travel to Belgium for Liège-Bastogne-Liège despite his excellent moment of form. Instead he and directeur sportif Dario Cioni will stay in the Trentino area until Sunday to check out several key stages from the route of the Giro d’Italia.

After is difficult 2014 season, which was affected by a virus, Porte appears to be ready to finally challenge for victory in a Grand Tour. He is slimmer, apparently happier and has the air of a true team leader.

Asked to describe three qualities needed by a Giro d’Italia contender, he replied: “I think you need more than three but after this race I’d say it’s important not to get stressed out and to be good every day - for me managing my bad days is important. I’d say the third quality needed is belief and I think this year, I’ve become more confident in my ability. So bring it on. I’m looking forward to this Giro d’Italia.”

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