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"It’s good for our team. We had a rollercoaster season last year and I think we’re back now."

Photo: A.S.O.

RICHIE PORTE

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TEAM SKY

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WORLDTOUR

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16.03.2015 @ 12:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Richie Porte (Team Sky) moved to the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings after securing overall success at Paris-Nice.

 

The Australian needed to pull back time on Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) on the last day, and dominated the 9.5km time trial on the Col d’Eze climb above Nice to win the stage and take the yellow jersey. He finished the week-long race 30 seconds ahead of road race World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-QuickStep), with Simon Spilak (Team Katusha) third overall in the same time.

 

Porte scored 100 UCI WorldTour points for overall victory and so now leads the individual rankings with a total of 198 points after also performing well in the Tour Down Under in Australia in January. Fellow Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) is second with 114 points, while Kwiatkowski is third with 89 points.

 

Porte won Paris-Nice in 2013 but had a difficult 2014 season, with illness hampering his racing in the spring and the Tour de France. However he has shown he is back to his best for 2015.

 

"It’s one of the iconic races and for me I think this one feels a little bit sweeter than the last one,” Porte said of his victory. “It was hard, they threw everything they had at us yesterday and to win on the top of the Col d’Eze like the last time it’s incredible."

 

Porte won atop the Croix de Chaubouret on stage four but crashed on the rain-soaked sixth stage. However he is a fine time trialist and knows the Col d’Eze climb well.   

 

“Credit to Tony (Gallopin), I was a little bit nervous going into the day,” Porte admitted. “Geraint (Thomas) 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 though, is a fantastic feeling.”

 

Thomas finished fifth overall and so helped boost Team Sky’s lead in the team rankings of the UCI WorldTour. The British squad now has a total of 252 points, well ahead of second placed the BMC Racing Team that has 191 points. Lampre-Merida is third overall with 96 points. Australia leads the nations rankings with 403 points.

 

"It’s good for our team. We had a rollercoaster season last year and I think we’re back now," Porte said of his success.

 

The seven days of racing at Paris-Nice produced some spectacular action as the riders headed from the winter weather of the French capital to the warmer climate of the Mediterranean coast and Nice. Kwiatkowski won the opening prologue time trial in Maurepas and tried valiantly to defend his lead as Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha), Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and then Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) dominated the sprint finishes. Porte showed his intentions in the Massif Central and then young Italian sprinter Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) showed his talent on stage six but the race remained on a knife-edge. Gallopin gave his all to win in the cold and rain on the hilly seventh stage to Nice but he paid for his effort in the final time trial and slipped to sixth overall.

 

Porte did not buckle under the expectations and delivered yet another stage victory for Team Sky. For now, they are the team to beat in the 2015 UCI WorldTour.

 

The UCI WorldTour rankings will next be updated after the conclusion of the Tirreno-Adriatico race in Italy on Tuesday. The next race on the UCI WorldTour calendar is Milan-Sanremo on Sunday March 22. The one-day Italian race marks the start of the so-called spring Classics on the UCI WorldTour calendar.  

 

The WorldTour rankings can be found here.

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