It was a thrilling final stage of Paris-Nice starting and finishing in Nice, which saw Richie Porte finish third on the stage behind Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and podium for the third time.
Porte, who started the day fourth overall, made the most of a late attack from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) on Col D’Eze to finish the stage just seconds ahead of the Yellow Jersey group.
The four bonus seconds that Porte gained were enough to elevate him to third place to round out the podium behind winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Contador.
“It was an incredible day. When Contador attacked at the bottom of Côte de Peille it was a long way out and then Team Sky obviously chased back. I’ve got to pay credit to my teammates who put me where I needed to be and put me in the best position at the bottom of Col D’Èze,” Porte said.
“It came down to legs and I think it was quite a thrilling finale there. We went up Col D’Èze so fast but then we also came down at warp speed. We could see that they were coming back at us but it was just a great way to finish off a solid week of racing.”
Porte said his podium result gives him confidence going into the next part of the season.
“My goals this year have changed and now my big aim is the Tour de France in July. After coming back to Europe two weeks ago and not really knowing where I was at, finishing third in such a hard Paris-Nice is a good sign for the future.”
BMC Racing Team Sports Director Fabio Baldato agreed with Porte’s evaluation of the week of racing.
“Paris-Nice has been the first real test of the season for these guys and our goal was to be on the podium. To have Richie up there today shows that he is in good form and that the team worked really hard to support him all week,” Baldato confirmed.
“It wasn’t an easy week of racing. There were a lot of good GC contenders and the extreme conditions that the peloton faced didn’t make it any easier. We’re walking away happy with our performance.”
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