Porte claims the queen stage of the Tour Down Under

Richie Porte made history on Willunga Hill as he claimed the queen stage of the Tour Down Under for the third year in a row and first for his new BMC Racing Team. Simon Gerrans crossed the line 17 seconds down in eighth place to ensure he starts tomorrow’s stage 6 city criterium in the leader’s ochre jersey with a nine second advantage over Porte.

At the base of the three-kilometre climb up Willunga Hill, it was grupo compcato for the overall favourites with the second ascent of the day to decide the stage and overall winner. Following a flurry of attacks, Porte attacked the reduced front group just outside the flame rouge with Sergio Henao (Team Sky) and Michael Woods (Cannondale) the only riders able to respond.

“To be honest, I never expected that one. Obviously it didn’t go plan yesterday with the time gap on the line but today the BMC guys were incredible. They backed me here, which is nice and I’ve only just started here with his team and its nice to win in Australia on top of Willunga. It’s three in a row now.

Henao and Woods tried to reach Porte but as the winner of the last two editions of the stage, the 30-year-old timed his run to perfection to take the stage win and slot into second overall on GC.

“The Australian public just get behind this race so much and really does feel like riding the Tour de France up this climb. It’s an incredible feeling,” said Porte, who won’t be chasing any bonus seconds in tomorrow stage. “I couldn’t sprint out of sight on a dark night. I am happy with how it’s gone. I didn’t target this race so it’s just nice to get the first win in the BMC jersey.

Porte sits nine seconds off Gerrans ahead of the final stage, with Henao at 11 seconds and Jay McCarthy at 20 seconds, while Woods rounds out the top five in his first race in green argyle at the same time.

Although the minor places are subject to change with closer time gaps, Gerrans has all but sown up his fourth win at the race

“Wow, that was a tough finish, “Gerrans said in his port-stage television interview. “The calibre of climber that is in the race just made that final ascent extra tough. The three guys who attacked off the front are some of the best in the world so it was bloody tough.

“One stage to go and anything can happen but I tell you what, I’d prefer to go into that last in front rather than behind,” Gerrans added.

Tour Down Under – stage 5 results:

1 Richie Porte (BMC) 3:34:16
2 Sergio Henao (Sky) 0:00:06
3 Michael Woods (Cannondale) 0:00:09
4 Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) 0:00:17
5 Rafael Valls (Lotto Soudal)  
6 Ruben Fernandez (Movistar)  
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R)  
8 Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE)  
9 Jarlinson Pantano (IAM)  
10 Patrick Bevin (Cannondale)

General clasification after stage 5:

1 Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE) 3:34:16
2 Richie Porte (BMC) 0:00:09
3 Sergio Henao (Sky) 0:00:11
4 Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) 0:00:20
5 Michael Woods (Cannondale)
6 Ruben Fernandez (Movistar)  0:00:28
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R)
8  Rafael Valls (Lotto Soudal)  0:00:36
9 Steve Morabito (FDJ) 0:00:49
10 Patrick Bevin (Cannondale) 0:00:50