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"We’re expecting attacks to come, but Richie’s in good form and we’ll do everything we can to wrap up the victory tomorrow.”

Photo: Sirotti






28.03.2015 @ 20:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Richie Porte moved within 24 hours of claiming the Volta a Catalunya title after Sergei Chernetski had claimed a last-gasp breakaway win in Port Aventura.


Porte was kept out of trouble on a windswept penultimate stage, with Team Sky controlling the pace of the peloton after 21 riders had snuck clear early in the day.


With nobody a significant threat on the general classification, Team Sky maintained a manageable gap as they traversed a lumpy 194.1km passage from Cervera featuring two classified climbs.


A brisk tailwind aided the escapees’ cause, but the attacks started flying in the last 20km, and only a handful of riders survived to battle it out for the stage win.


Julian Alaphilippe looked to have got the victory in the bag when he kicked in the last kilometre, but Chernetski (Katusha) dug deep to bring the Etixx – Quick-Step rider back in the dying seconds, and rounded his rival by the tightest of margins at the line to seal his first WorldTour victory.


Porte meanwhile, rolled home in the peloton one minute and 49 seconds later, and was credited with the same time as his nearest rivals in the overall standings.


That result means Porte goes into Sunday’s showdown in Barcelona with a five-second cushion over Domenico Pozzovio (AG2R), while Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) sits two seconds further adrift in third despite crashing in the last 3km.



Back at the team hotel, Sports Director Nicolas Portal praised his riders’ efforts but admitted there is still plenty of racing to be done before the winner is crowned.


He told “Everything went well out there for us today. It was a very windy day but we kept Richie out of trouble brilliantly. Xabi [Zandio] and Leopold [Konig] deserve special praise because they did 90% of the pacesetting, and kept that large breakaway in check for over 150km.  


“Vasil [Kiryienka], Nico [Roche] and Chris [Froome] also stepped up towards the end and I’m really happy with everybody’s performance.


“Richie’s in a great position to take the win now but the race is far from over. We tackle eight laps of an undulating circuit in Barcelona and it’ll be like a rollercoaster ride with hardly any flat. We’re expecting attacks to come, but Richie’s in good form and we’ll do everything we can to wrap up the victory tomorrow.”

"I think it will be a tough stage and I hope to finish well. The team is doing a great job and to win tomorrow would be great. I want to win this race," Porte said



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