Porte Secures Another Day in Ochre Ahead of Willunga Hill20. January 2017, Campbelltown (AUS) — Road Team
Richie Porte crossed the line safely on stage 4 of the Santos Tour Down Under after a hectic finale, to retain his overall lead.
Porte spent his second day in the ochre jersey protected in the peloton, while a three-rider breakaway went clear after 12km of racing.
BMC Racing Team controlled the race throughout the stage and kept the breakaway at a manageable distance ahead of the bunch.
With 25km to go the breakaway had diminished to one solo leader, Jack Bauer (Quick Step Floors), who held off the peloton until 5km to go, when he was eventually pulled back.
The sprinters’ teams geared up for the finale, which was again won by Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott) in a bunch sprint.
Porte kept his 20-second lead on the General Classification safe, and remains as leader of the King of the Mountain classification, ahead of stage 5 which sees the peloton battle it out on Willunga Hill, the stage Porte has won on the past three occasions.
“Yesterday and today, I had so much to lose and not a lot to gain so to get that one done is a massive relief and now it’s Willunga which I know quite well. But that’s a different scenario going into it now. I don’t have to attack, I’ve just got to follow. So it’s not all about the stage win tomorrow, it’s more about trying to defend the ochre jersey,” Porte explained.
“We have a great team and I’m pretty relaxed with where I’m at. If they [General Classification contenders] want to hit out early, we have the team to try and control it. But we have a trump card in Rohan Dennis, he’s lean, he’s strong and he’s pretty motivated.”
“The atmosphere on Willunga is incredible. It’s like riding the Tour de France every year, so it’s a special stage to win. So we’ll just see how it all pans out.”
Dennis weighed in ahead of Willunga Hill.
“I think everyone will be pretty aggressive tomorrow but they’re going to have to have pretty good legs. If they’re going to go too early it could actually open them up and they could lose everything, so I’m not 100% sure if they will take that approach but I guess that’s the only way they can really beat Richie,” Dennis said.
“I don’t think anyone can really catch the wheel of Richie unless there is serious bad luck tomorrow. If Richie is there up the front on the last lap of Willunga, the way he climbed Paracombe I say good luck to anyone.”
Santos Tour Down Under
Stage 4 Norwood > Campbelltown (149.5km)
Top 3: 1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott), 2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), 3. Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 21. Rohan Dennis, 30. Richie Porte, 54. Damiano Caruso
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.