Porte clinches first Tour Down Under

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 22, 2017 12:43 AM

ADELAIDE (Reuters) - Australia's Richie Porte won his first Tour Down Under on Sunday when he finished behind compatriot Caleb Ewan in a bunch sprint on the final 90-kilometre sixth stage around the streets of Adelaide.

Orica-Scott's Ewan outsprinted world champion Peter Sagan to clinch his fourth stage on this year's Tour, joining Germany's Andre Greipel (2028) and Australia's Robbie McEwen (2002) as the only riders to have won four stages in the same race.

The 31-year-old Porte, who had finished second in the race the last two years, was 48 seconds ahead of Colombian climber Esteban Chavas, with Australia's Jay McCarthy third overall, three seconds further back according to provisional results.

"The Tour Down Under was good for me this year with two hilltop finishes, and it's just incredible to come back here and win after being so close the past two years," Porte told Channel 9.

"I really owe it to my team mates, each day, they got me across the line and it's a massive credit to them."

"I had a good break at the end of last season and I've come back refreshed, physically and mentally and to win this race, it means a hell of a lot and you know it's a credit to this race how big it is."

BMC's Porte had extended his lead to 48 seconds when he won the 151.5 kilometer fifth stage from McLaren Vale to the summit of Willunga Hill on Saturday.

While essentially a procession, the final stage, which comprised 20 laps on central Adelaide streets, featured an early breakaway by Belgium's Tomas De Gendt and Italy's Gianluca Brambilla, who established a 30-second lead before they were hauled in.

Seven others managed to get away from the peloton about halfway through the stage, establishing a 58-second gap and held on until the penultimate lap when the last of the seven -- New Zealand's Jack Bauer -- was reeled in for a final bunch sprint.

The six-stage race around South Australia is the first event on the 2017 UCI WorldTour calendar.

(Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)