Richie Porte solos to Tour Down Under win

Richie Porte (Team Sky) won a "very special victory" on the 151.5km race to the top of  Willunga Hill by 10 seconds over Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) who regains the overall classification lead at the Tour Down Under. Porte attacked with 2km to race and was joined by Cadel Evans (BMC) before riding away from his rivals to claim his first win of 2014 on the packed slopes of the day's climb.

It appeared that Porte's attack was going to give him both the stage and the overall lead but his gap was narrowed with Gerrans and Ulissi attacking in the final 100m and he now sits fourth overall with just tomorrow's street race around Adelaide to come. With nine bonus seconds on offer in intermediate sprint points and 10 seconds on the finish line, the final day of racing could provide further exciting racing.

"The guys were absolutely incredible today, it was a little bit of a shame on the Corkscrew stage being a little bit out of position and I lost some time. But I felt great coming into today and the team had a plan and the boys were absolutely incredible all day," Porte said after claiming the win.

"This result is more than I hoped for. It was a very stressful day with crosswinds but I had my team doing an incredible work for me. Ian Stannard, Bernhard Eisel, Luke Rowe, the Classics' guys… I just had to sit in their back pocket all day. I panicked a little bit and Stannard said he'd drop me at the right place."

Porte is building for his season objective, victory in the Giro d'Italia in May, but showed his class when the roads start heading upwards and was grateful to repay the faith Sky have placed in the Tasmanian. "It's January, I'm not yet in top form just yet but to win in Australia on this climb is a very special victory," Porte said.

"Winning here means everything for me. Sky is such a great team. It's a great way to repay them for the belief they have in me."

Simon Gerrans entered the race needing to find eight seconds to end the stage in the leaders' ochre jersey and did just that. He now enters the final day with a one second lead over Evans which is a similar scenario to 2012 when he last won the race.

"All the way up the climb, I always knew what I had to do. I needed to save energy for the very last part. Earlier on, we had Matt Goss at the front, then Daryl (Impey) and Simon (Clarke) looked after me. It's a dream result to get the jersey back," Gerrans said in the aftermath of the race.

"It's only by one second though. Actually it's one second more than two years ago (against Alejandro Valverde) but it's still going to be tight and nervous tomorrow. I'm very pleased to be back in the lead." 

The day had begun with riders trying to make the day's break with Mark O'Brien (UniSA) starting proceedings but he missed out. In the break were Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) Jose Lobato (Movistar) and Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha).

The break built a lead of eight minutes after 50km of racing with the peloton deciding to let the four riders go which meant that there was no possibility of Gerrans gaining bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint points. Orica-GreenEdge decided the break's time was up and started to up the tempo as BMC, Sky and Garmin-Sharp came forward to help out with the chase.

Voigt crested the first ascent of Willunga Hill but the break was reeled in on the descent back into Willunga so that when the race went up the climb for a second time it was all together. The crowds on the climb was one of the largest seen at the race cheering on every cyclist on both ascents.

As the climb started to head upwards, on the front of the peloton was BMC and Evans and the race leader then tried to distance his rivals. With 2km to go, Porte put the hammer down and was briefly joined by Evans before increasing his speed while Gerrans remained cool with Daryl Impey by his side.

Evans began to fade and sat up to join Ulissi and Gerrans and the three headed for the finish line and in another impressive showing at the race, Diego Ulissi beat Gerrans in the sprint for second place who he now trails by five seconds in the overall. Evans finished the stage in sixth place alongside Robert Gesink (Belkin) and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) after they caught him in the final hundred meters and the three crossed the line together.

Gerrans ended the stage in the box seat for his third overall Tour Down Under victory and GreenEdge sport director Matt White said after the race the team are confident ahead of tomorrow's criterium stage.

"Even if Cadel hadn't been dropped today, we were pretty confident we could have gotten three seconds tomorrow. Now we don't have to, and we can play it defensive," White said.

"Over the last three years, he's done well on this climb. It's a climb that suits him. This climb is always won in the last kilometre, so long as he didn't get distanced too much in the steep part at the bottom, he could attack at the top. Simon is very smart, and he rode a very calculating climb."

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Results

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Result
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky3:42:20
2Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:10
3Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 2 - Cell 2
4Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:00:14
5Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenedgeRow 4 - Cell 2
6Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp0:00:17
8Egor Silin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 7 - Cell 2
9Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto BelisolRow 8 - Cell 2
10Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky0:00:21
11Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:24
12Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:30
13Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:43
15Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:52
16Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:53
17Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Jack Haig (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 19 - Cell 2
21Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional CyclingRow 21 - Cell 2
23Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Professional CyclingRow 22 - Cell 2
24Robbie Hucker (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:01:00
25Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:01:02
26Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 26 - Cell 2
28Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 27 - Cell 2
29Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 28 - Cell 2
30Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 29 - Cell 2
31Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale0:01:10
32Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 31 - Cell 2
33Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:01:20
34Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:01:24
35Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:47
36Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 35 - Cell 2
37Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 36 - Cell 2
38Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:01:50
39Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.frRow 38 - Cell 2
40Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing0:01:56
41Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:02:11
42Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha0:02:19
43Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:02:25
44Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:02:50
45Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory RacingRow 44 - Cell 2
46Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional CyclingRow 46 - Cell 2
48Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 47 - Cell 2
49Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 48 - Cell 2
50Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:02:54
51Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:03:15
52Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:04:35
53Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory RacingRow 52 - Cell 2
54André Greipel (Ger) Lotto BelisolRow 53 - Cell 2
55Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 54 - Cell 2
56Ian Stannard (GBr) Team SkyRow 55 - Cell 2
57Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 56 - Cell 2
58Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:04:51
59Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:05:12
60Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Mark O'Brien (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 61 - Cell 2
63Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.frRow 62 - Cell 2
64Matej Mohoric (Slo) CannondaleRow 63 - Cell 2
65Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 64 - Cell 2
66Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:06:39
67Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 66 - Cell 2
68Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ.frRow 67 - Cell 2
69Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 68 - Cell 2
70Nathan Earle (Aus) Team SkyRow 69 - Cell 2
71Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory RacingRow 70 - Cell 2
72Philip Deignan (Irl) Team SkyRow 71 - Cell 2
73Kévin Reza (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 72 - Cell 2
74Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Garmin SharpRow 73 - Cell 2
75Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ.frRow 74 - Cell 2
76Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.frRow 75 - Cell 2
77George Bennett (NZl) CannondaleRow 76 - Cell 2
78Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica Greenedge0:06:47
79Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 78 - Cell 2
80Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar0:06:50
81Evan Huffman (USA) Astana Pro Team0:06:57
82Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 84 - Cell 2
86Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 85 - Cell 2
87Alberto Bettiol (Ita) CannondaleRow 86 - Cell 2
88Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Guillaume Boivin (Can) CannondaleRow 88 - Cell 2
90Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team EuropcarRow 90 - Cell 2
92Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin SharpRow 91 - Cell 2
93Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin SharpRow 92 - Cell 2
94Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 93 - Cell 2
95Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory RacingRow 94 - Cell 2
96Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:08:09
97Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha0:08:26
98Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin Sharp0:08:44
99William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional CyclingRow 98 - Cell 2
100Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Campbell Flakemore (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 100 - Cell 2
102Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:09:47
103Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp0:11:32
104Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin SharpRow 103 - Cell 2
105William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.frRow 104 - Cell 2
106Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 106 - Cell 2
108Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 107 - Cell 2
109Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 108 - Cell 2
110Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 109 - Cell 2
111Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenedgeRow 110 - Cell 2
112Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 111 - Cell 2
113Luke Rowe (GBr) Team SkyRow 112 - Cell 2
114Elia Viviani (Ita) CannondaleRow 113 - Cell 2
115Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto BelisolRow 114 - Cell 2
116Maxime Daniel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 115 - Cell 2
117Matthias Krizek (Aut) CannondaleRow 116 - Cell 2
118Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJ.frRow 118 - Cell 2
120Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 119 - Cell 2
121Caleb Ewan (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 120 - Cell 2
122Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 121 - Cell 2
123Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 122 - Cell 2
124Neil Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 123 - Cell 2
125Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:11:52
126Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:13:35
127Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 126 - Cell 2
128Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 127 - Cell 2
129Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 128 - Cell 2
130Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:55
131Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:17:53
132Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team SkyRow 131 - Cell 2
DNFBradley Linfield (Aus) Uni-SA AustraliaRow 132 - Cell 2
DNSJosé Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Snapper Point
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Team Katusha5pts
2Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing2Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 - Snapper Point
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Team Katusha5pts
2Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing2Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint point 3 - Old Willunga Hill (Stage finish)
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky15pts
2Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida14Row 1 - Cell 3
3Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica Greenedge13Row 2 - Cell 3
4Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team12Row 3 - Cell 3
5Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge11Row 4 - Cell 3
6Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin Sharp9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky6Row 9 - Cell 3
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Mountain classificaiton 1 - Old Willunga Hill 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3