Tue, Mar 12, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Richie Porte becomes first Aussie to win Paris-Nice

AP, COL D’EZE, France

Australian rider Richie Porte won the Paris-Nice race after a dominant victory on the final time-trial stage on Sunday, while promising US rider Andrew Talansky showed his potential with a second-placed overall finish.

Porte was in the leader’s yellow jersey overnight and only needed to protect his lead. However, he attacked from the start and dominated his rivals on the uphill time trial, finishing a massive 23 seconds ahead of Talansky.

The 28-year-old Porte posted a time of 19 minutes, 16 seconds over the 9.6km from Nice to Col d’Eze, to become the first Australian to win the race.

“I can’t believe it, the first Aussie to win such a big race,” said Porte, who shook hands with Talansky as the American was warming down on a stationary bike. “It’s just an honor to have my name up there with Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin, all the big champions.”

Porte follows in the footsteps of Sky teammate Wiggins, who won the race last year before going on to win the Tour de France. However, after coming relatively late into professional cycling, he ruled out any likelihood of becoming a main contender on the Tour later this year.

“I’m still doing my apprenticeship, I’m still learning from Bradley and Chris Froome, so I don’t expect to go to the Tour and ride for general classification,” Porte said.

“I’m in a good place at the moment and don’t really want to change anything. Whatever happens, we’re going to have a hell of a team for the Tour de France,” he added.

Talansky was 32 seconds behind Porte overnight, but the Garmin-Sharp rider slipped further behind to finish 55 seconds adrift in the final standings.

He is to ride in his first Tour de France later this year and is targeting a top-10 finish.

Garmin-Sharp team manager Jonathan Vaughters, a former Tour rider, thinks Talansky’s raw ability and attitude can take him far.

“Andrew is an amazing talent, but not in a calculated way,” Vaughters said in an e-mail. “He’s emotional and he pushes himself harder than any cyclist I’ve seen. That’s why I nicknamed him ‘pit bull.’ Once he latches his jaws onto something, he isn’t letting go. Ever.”

French rider Jean-Christophe Peraud finished third overall, 1:21 behind, despite coming off his bike, and US cyclist Tejay van Garderen was 1:44 back in fourth spot.

Tirreno-Adriatico

AP, CHIETI, Italy

Joachin Rodriguez won the fifth stage of the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday with an attack on the short, but steep finishing climb, while Chris Froome took the overall lead.

Rodriguez, a Spaniard with the Katusha team and runner-up in last year’s Giro d’Italia, clocked 6 hours, 6 minutes, 43 seconds in the marathon-like 230km from Ortona to Chieti.

Dutch rider Bauke Mollema finished second, eight seconds behind, and Spanish standout Alberto Contador crossed third with the same time in a group that also featured Froome, who was sixth.

In the overall standings, Froome holds a 20-second lead over Contador, with Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali third, also 20 seconds back.

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