Richie Porte Wins Second Tour Down Under Despite Slow Start

Australian rider Richie Porte from team Trek-Segafredo reacts after winning the Tour Down Under UCI World Tour cycling event in Adelaide

Richie Porte is now a two-time Tour Down Under winner after winning the cycle race again on Sunday.

The Australian cyclist came out starting slow after failing to win the grueling stage to the top of Willunga Hill for the first time in seven years. 

He finished the said stage second behind Englishman Matthew Holmes 

The battle at Wilunga Hill

South African Daryl Impey, the reigning two-time defending champion had a two-second lead over Porte entering the last of six stages. Impey's lead got thrown out the window on the second climb up Wilunga Hill. Porte launched his trademark attack which changed the overall result.

It was first-timer Holmes that ended Porte's winning streak on the said stage after he swept past the six-time Wilunga stage winner over the crown of the hill and had a three-second lead at the finish line.

Second climb is the charm

Porte's teammates did well too before the final climb of Willunga Hill. He stayed focused on and ready on the final Tour Down Under climb.

He pushed for higher gear as he pulled away from a suffering Impey, then eventually shook Mitchelton's Simon Yates off his wheel. Porte surged away from all his overall rivals before blasting past the remains of the breakaway.

"I think it's one of the faster times we've done up here. Bike races don't get any easier to win," Porte said. 

"When Yates was sat on my wheel, the mind-battle starts a bit because he's a fantastic little bike rider and I knew that I had my work cut out. I knew I had to ride him off my wheel. He's got youth on his side and I'm getting on a bit, so to finish it off like that was great," he added.

Winning again

Porte has not won since last year's Tour Down Under win. He finished fifth at the Tour of California and11th at the Tour de France.

He ended his season early as he chose to recover, prepare more, and spend time with his family in Tasmania. The preparation paid off after his second Tour Down Under win.

"It's nice to win a bike race again," Porte said. 

"I had a good two-month stint in Tassie, just training with my mates. My wife has been fantastic, looking after our little boy, too. Everything has just gone well; we've kept it simple for the last two months and it's great to come back here and win the Tour Down Under," Porte shared.

What's next for Porte?

Porte has several competitions lined up on his schedule. He has the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race next weekend in Geelong. Then, Porte will go to Europe for a three-day Tour Cycliste International du Var et des Alpes Maritimes near his home in Monaco. 

Porte's next major competition will be Paris-Nice in March. The Volta a Catalunya is also one of his major goals this year.

Did Porte's time off pay off? Will he be able to carry through the next competitions? Tell us your thoughts.