Richie Porte (BMC Racing) extended his lead and set up overall victory at the Tour Down Under on Saturday, once again riding away from the rest of the contenders on Willunga Hill to take his fourth victory on the climb and his second stage win of this year’s race.
Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) put in an impressive effort on the climb, finishing ahead of Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) to take second place at 20 seconds.
Porte won the stage in the leader’s ochre jersey and now leads the overall classification by 48 seconds ahead of Chaves, while Haas jumped to third overall, 51 seconds back. Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), who started the day second overall, struggled on the final climb and dropped out of the top 10.
"This is not an easy climb, so to win it is great for morale," Porte said. "Obviously the biggest goal this year is in July at the Tour de France, but things are going well."
While it may have been dethroned of its status as ‘queen stage’ of the Tour Down Under, stage 5 rolled out from McLaren Vale, headed out to the beach for three circuits, and then up Willunga Hill twice. The climb was buzzing with anticipation from riders and fans alike.
Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) tried several attacks early on in the stage and was joined by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) -racing in the KOM jersey and chasing more points, Jeremy Maison (FDJ), and Friday’s combative rider Jack Bauer (Quick-Step Floors). The quartet were given plenty of freedom but everything came back together before the final assault of Willunga Hill, with Porte’s rivals unable to respond when he attacked hard and soloed to victory.