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Richie Porte and Willunga Hill. It’s a relationship that’s defined the penultimate stage of the Tour Down Under since 2014. Today’s victory, Porte’s fourth consecutive on the hill, was perhaps his most impressive to date.
He didn’t need to attack. He could have sat in and just followed the moves of his rivals, leaning on the 20-second advantage he took into the stage. But the feisty Tasmanian attacked from further out than he has in the past four years, and won convincingly.
He said before the stage he was going to be defensive first and foremost. But he came clean after the race.
“To be honest I was never in two minds — I just lied to the journalists,” Porte admitted. “No, look, I knew I had to attack and I’ve got good legs at the moment.”
He does indeed. It was a demonstrative performance and one that puts Porte in good stead for the season ahead. More immediately, he’s said that tomorrow isn’t a procession, but he has to say that. In reality the TDU was over on stage 2 — Porte just needs to stay upright on tomorrow’s final stage.
In the meantime, here are some great shots from stage 5 of the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under.