Team Sky go down fighting at Tour Down Under

Sergio Henao and his Team Sky teammates went for broke on stage 5 of the Tour Down Under but even their collective strength was no match for Richie Porte who once again steamrollered the opposition.

Henao came into the key stage to Willunga with a point to prove after losing time on the stage to Paracombe. Even though he was 33 seconds off the lead Team Sky still held hopes of wrestling a spot on the podium. In the end Henao finished eight on Willunga Hill, even though he was briefly the only man to try and follow Porte after the Australian attacked. With one stage to go - a flat sprint stage – Henao now sits 11th overall, at 1:06 after other riders surged up to him and past him at the finish.

“The team put in a really strong effort going in to the bottom of the climb to put me in a strong position,” Henao said atop Willunga Hill.

"There was a gap starting to form ahead of the other guys but I knew I had to continue on and I knew it would be difficult to follow Richie up the hill.”

“I was trying to get a place on the podium. It was all or nothing."

In praise of Porte

The Colombian was swallowed up soon after by the chasers and lost three more seconds to some of his closest rivals but Team Sky’s Brett Lancaster praised his riders’ efforts at the finish.

“The guys rode perfect. Richie just had better legs than everyone. They said that Sergio nearly crashed there but I’ve not seen the footage but well done to Richie. If he wins by twenty seconds then he’s the best man.”

When asked if Henao simply gave himself too much to do after losing time earlier in race, Lancaster pointed to bad luck, before praising his riders once more.

“That’s just one of those things in cycling. It’s a shame that he had that puncture so close to the finish but that knocked him around but tactically it worked out for us today. Thomas wasn’t brilliant for us today but he gave it everything.”

“The plan was to make it has hard as possible in the crosswinds and soften some people up.”

Team Sky have one last chance to take a win at the Tour Down Under, with Danny Van Poppel once more set to go up against Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan on the final stage.


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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.