Rider of the week
Richie Porte wrapped up his second Paris-Nice title in the space of three years after taking the victory in the Col d’Eze individual time trial with an impressive display over the 9,6 kilometers of the stage. The 30-year-old Aussie – winner of the ITT nationals and one stage a piece in the Tour Down Under and the Volta ao Algarve – came at the start as the five star favorite for the overall and he didn’t disappoint during the one-week French race, winning two stages and showing he is head and shoulders above all the other riders who were hoping to go home with the yellow jersey.
Rather surprising considering his results this year, many were doubting Porte’s ability of winning the race, but he silenced his critics with the first opportunity he had, Croix de Chauboret, where he rode away from his rivals with aremarkable ease and took a comfortable win. This was followed just a couple of days later by the fine ride he had in the Col d’Eze ITT, where be blew his opponents to pieces, giving them no chance to lay their claim on the first place in the GC for which he was going for, and putting half a minute between him and his closest rivals.
After his admirable performance, Porte became a two-time winner of the “Race to the Sun”, which makes him one of the most successful cyclists in the event’s history, putting the rider from Down Under on level terms with Maurice Archambaud, Fred de Bruyne, Alberto Contador, Raymond Impanis, Miguel Indurain, Raymond Poulidor, Toni Rominger and Alexander Vinokourov. More important, Richie Porte’s ride in France capped one of the best starts to the season in his career and put him on track for the next goals he has for this Spring.