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© Graham Watson photography
Twenty-eight year-old Richie Porte only started racing in 2006, having begun his sporting life as a triathlete. Porte first competed on the road for pro continental team Praties in his native Tasmania, then switching to Andrea Tafi's amateur Grassi Mapei squad in Italy during 2009. There he raced at the baby Giro winning the individual time trial which led to a contract with Saxo Bank. In 2010 he wore pink at the Giro d'Italia itself for three stages, eventually finishing the race in 7th place and winning the young rider classification. The diminutive but devilish Tasmanian joined Team Sky at the start of the 2012 campaign and immediately made an impact, winning the Tour of the Algarve. Porte's time trialling ability is complemented by his strength as a climber, making him yet another powerful stage race contender within Team Sky's arsenal.
© Graham Watson photography
And this was duly proven last week as he clinched a distinguished victory at Paris-Nice. His attack on the fifth stage from Chateauneuf-du-Pape up Montagne de Lure was a precise and race-winning move worthy of the label panache. The team had controlled the pack in typical fashion before forcing the revs as they hit the climb. American Danny Pate, Spaniard David López and Kanstantsin Siutsou from Belarus set the tone for Mr. Porte to burst free and ride into yellow. The final time trial over the Col d'Eze overlooking the Côte d'Azur sealed his victory by almost a minute, and was four seconds shy of the course record time, set by Wiggins last season. The Race to the Sun is a prestigious title with some of the sport's most legendary names having won it. Porte said after his victory:
“I can’t believe it. The first Aussie to win such a big race and it's just an honour to have my name up there with all the big champions.”
Richie will next be racing with the team in the Critérium International in Corsica at the end of the month.
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