Paris-Nice – Porte Storms to Victory


Australian Richie Porte stormed up the Col d’Eze to win the final stage in Paris-Nice and with it, his second overall victory in the race

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Paris-Nice – Porte Storms to Victory


The conditions were different, the competition as fierce, but Richie Porte remained the King of the Col d’Eze, two years after becoming the first Australian to win Paris-Nice. Gusty winds and rainy spells were not enough to stop the Team Sky leader dominating the final 9.6-km time trial on the classic pass overlooking Nice in 20 minutes and 23 seconds, 1:07 slower than in 2013.

“Credit to Tony [Gallopin]” Porte told his teams website. “I was a little bit nervous going into the day. Geraint and I threw time away yesterday – we were in a fantastic position, and for both of us to crash like we did wasn’t ideal. To win today though, is a fantastic feeling.”

“It means a lot to me to be a two-time winner of an iconic race like Paris-Nice, and this one feels even sweeter than the last one because it was so hard. They threw everything at us yesterday, and to win on the top of the Col d’Eze this year, like I did in 2013, is incredible. We have a fantastic team at Team Sky with Wout Poels winning at Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday and Chris Froome set to come back in. It’s good because we had a roller coaster season last year and we’re definitely back now.”

Tony Gallopin’s advantage of 36 seconds at the start was finally too slim for the yellow jersey holder to retain his yellow jumper. The Frenchman finished 1:03 short of becoming the first local rider to be crowned in the Race to the Sun, rather rainy this year, since 1997.

Tony Gallopin: “I had a bad day, I knew it immediately after the start. I looked at the wattage and noticed it wasn’t sufficient to set a fast time. This is tough mentally. I was nervous because it was an important day; I had the opportunity to win Paris-Nice. But I don’t think that played a role. The legs just weren’t good enough. It’s difficult to explain, but this is cycling.”

“I am sixth overall. If you had told me this in the beginning of the week I would have been satisfied with it. It is indeed a nice result, but after yesterday I hoped for more. Now I am disappointed. Tomorrow or the day after I will probably be able to put this in perspective and look back on a great week. Then I’ll make the switch, because Sunday I’ll ride Milan-Sanremo. That’s always a special race, I love it. It’s an open race, where lots can happen. That is my next appointment before the Ardennes classics.”

In the final overall standings, Porte led world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (EQS), Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (KAT) and 2013 world champion Rui Costa (LAM) by 30 seconds.

Stijn Vandenbergh (EQS), who did a tremendous work for his leader Michal Kwiatkowski all week, was the first rider in action but the first reference time was clocked by polka-dot jersey holder Thomas De Gendt (LTS). The Belgian clocked 21:19 and rode the climb at full speed to take indications for leader Tony Gallopin.

Runner-up to Richie Porte in 2013, Andrew Talansky (TCG) clocked 21 minutes precisely, 1:21 slower than two years ago. He was dislodged from top spot by three-times time trial world champion Tony Martin, the first man under 21 minutes on 20:52. As the top ten riders went into action, Simon Spilak (KAT) set the barrier high by clocking 20:36.

Only 2013 World Champion Rui Costa came close at first in 20:47. But as soon as Porte and Gallopin were on course, the doubts quickly disappeared. After the first intermediate time (5.5 km), Tony Gallopin had already lost 58 seconds on the Australian champion. On the line, he had given 1:39 back to the 2013 winner, who triumphed for a second time on Col d’Eze and seized the yellow jersey on the last day after winning the queen stage at Croix de Chaubouret.

A good fifth on the day, in the same time as team-mate Tony Martin, Michal Kwiatkowski was rewarded for a brilliant Paris-Nice by snatching second place overall, 30 seconds behind Porte, and the best young rider white jersey. The podium was completed by third-placed Spilak.

World Champion Kwiatkowski Second Overall
“I had the yellow jersey for a while in this race, and I’m happy about what we did overall,” Kwiatkowski. “We did what we could with this final uphill time trial. It didn’t work out for the victory, but I’m happy with my 2nd place. Richie Porte was the strongest guy in the peloton”.

“He deserved this win and I’m happy to be on the next step below him on the podium. We tried our best yesterday, Etixx – Quick-Step was aiming for the win and we were aggressive, but I didn’t have the legs to go with Gallopin. So today I did a good TT, especially considering the hard stage of yesterday”.

“I’m satisfied with my result at the end. This race gave me a lot of motivation for the next races, and great experience for the one-week stage races. Everything is going in the right direction. Competing on the climbs with the best climbers is something really nice that I discovered about myself and my skills”.

“Every year I’m making little progressions and I hope I can continue in this way. I am also happy with my condition. We will see what I can show in the future. I am looking forward to Milano-Sanremo and then of course the Ardennes Classics.”

Simon Å pilak earns final podium place in Paris-Nice
“It was my objective to reach the overall podium here in Paris – Nice, so I am really happy I did it today! I think our tactic yesterday was a good one. I took some important seconds, which helped me today to reach the podium. Today I was very motivated. I knew I could do well and on the distance I performed at 100%. I like this time trial in Nice. I think it is my third time I am here, and now I was able to get a podium place both in the stage and in the general classification. This result gives me even more motivation for my next goals – Vuelta al País Vasco and Tour de Romandie, – said Simon Å pilak.

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:20:23
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha 0:00:13
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:00:24
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:29
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:37
7. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:39
8. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:50
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:54
10. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:55

17. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge
23. Jack Bauer, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:25
84. Luke Rowe, Team Sky 0:03:16
104. Ben Swift, Team Sky 0:05:58

1. Richie Porte, Team Sky 29:10:41
2. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:30
3. Simon Spilak, Team Katusha
4. Rui Costa, Lampre-Merida
5. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 0:00:41
6. Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal 0:01:03
7. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana Pro Team 0:01:05
8. Rafael Valls Ferri, Lampre-Merida 0:01:24
9. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti, Movistar Team 0:01:38
10. Tim Wellens, Lotto Soudal 0:02:18

28. Nicolas Roche, Team Sky 0:18:44
29. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:19:03
31. Ben Swift, Team Sky 0:20:39
56. Jack Bauer, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:33:09
100. Luke Rowe, Team Sky 0:56:45

1. Michael Matthews, Orica GreenEdge 38 pts
2. Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha 32
3. Richie Porte, Team Sky 30

1. Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Soudal 78 pts
7. Geraint Thomas, Team Sky 12

1. Michal Kwiatkowski, Etixx – Quick-Step 28:50:19
2. Tim Wellens, Lotto Soudal 0:01:23
3. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:16
6. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:17:53

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