As predicted, Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) powered to the overall victory with an unmatchable surge on Willunga Hill on the final stage of the Tour Down Under but it was a little-known Briton, Matthew Holmes, who won the stage from the day-long breakaway.
A large attack group escaped early in the final stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, with Holmes embedded in a 26-rider move that shattered in the closing kiliometres of the race.
Porte distanced GC rival Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), bridging across to the remnants of the breakaway at the base of Willunga Hill.
When he made his final surge, Holmes was able to scrabble across and even after almost 150km in the breakaway, summon up enough gumption to attack the Australian to steal the stage win.
For Holmes, the stage win was a wholly unexpected result in his first WorldTour outing with Lotto Soudal. The 26-year-old signed with the team after an impressive fourth place in the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo and a sixth place overall in Tour de Yorkshire while racing for Madison Genesis.
He credited the stage win to his former team manager Roger Hammond, who had scolded him for doing too much work in breakaways. "I did the absolute minimum. I had the easiest ride of probably anyone in the whole race," Holmes said.
"I just had to go with Richie when he came pas. He had obviously gone a hell of a lot quicker than me up there, so he had no sprint left."
Porte was pleased to show himself again with an overall race win, almost two years after his last stage race victory in the 2018 Tour de Suisse.
"I won't let anyone take any of this success away. I've worked hard and now I know I can still win bike races, so it's good for the season that is coming," Porte said.
View the highlights video for the final stage of the race above.
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