Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) slipped down the standings at the Herald Sun Tour after stage 4, dropping from second overall to fourth after Team Sky's Dylan van Baarle claimed second on the stage and leader's jersey with one stage remaining.
Porte and overnight leader Michael Woods (EF Education First) were expected to battle it out for the stage and the GC on the final climb of Arthurs Seat on Saturday but Team Sky put three men - including van Baarle - into the day's break. The move stretched EF Education First to breaking point, while Porte's team were unwilling to simply help the American team defend their lead, especially while their Australian leader was suffering with a minor health problem.
"I haven't been healthy coming into this race," Porte told reporters at the conclusion of the stage, which was won by Mitchelton-Scott's Nick Shultz, while van Baarle crossed the line in second place.
Woods would eventually finish 2:14 down and sixth on the stage, with Porte crossing the line outside of the top ten and thirteen seconds further adrift.
"At the Cadel Evans race, I had a bit of a cold, and it's not an easy way to recover, racing like this," Porte added.
"I was second the other day on a stage, but today there was no hiding. I didn't have the legs. My team rode really well, but it's not up to us to win the race for Woods."
Porte singled out EF Education First when it came to controlling the race and mentioned Woods tactics from stage 2, when the Canadian had beaten the Australian to the stage win.
"Obviously he didn't have the team there for him and also he sat on me the other day for the last kilometre, which is not nice. I don't feel any need there to try and win the race for him."
Porte goes into Sunday's final stage 2:09 down on leader van Baarle. The Australian has enjoyed a successful start to his campaign in his new Trek-Segafredo colours, winning a stage and finishing second at the Tour Down Under. He will return to Europe after the Sun Tour and build up towards the Tour de France in July.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.