fi'zi:k's Porte wins Tour Down Under

Richie Porte, aboard his fi’zi:k Arione saddle and competing for BMC Racing, has won the Tour Down Under for the first time. The Australian rider finished the stage-six criterium safely in the pack to kick-start a year where the 31-year-old looks to record his maiden Grand Tour victory.

Porte finished third and second in 2015 and 2016, respectively, but made no mistake in 2017 thanks to two memorable solo victories on the Paracombe and Willunga climbs. Porte’s early-season power proved too much for the world’s best, and saw him win by the greatest margin in the race’s history. Esteban Chaves sat in second, 48 seconds back with Jay McCarthy third a further 3 seconds behind.

‘I think back nine years ago to when this race really kicked off my career,’ a nostalgic Porte commented after the race. ‘Then two years later I was in the WorldTour, so to win it is a massive relief.’

The two-hour criterium played out around the streets of Adelaide with one of the hottest young prospects in the peloton, 21-year-old Aussie Ben O’Connor (fi’zi:k R1 shoes and Dimension Data), joining a group containing Jaco Venter (fi’zi:k Arione VS saddle and Dimension Data) and Francois Bidard (fi’zi:k Arione saddle and AG2R La Mondiale) in going clear. However, with two laps remaining Team Sky, BMC Racing (both fi’zi:k) and Orica-Scott swarmed the front of the pack with Orica-Scott delivering Caleb Ewan to his fourth stage win of the week. Danny van Poppel (fi’zi:k Aliante and Team Sky) finished fourth.

The road-race spotlight continues to shine on Australia with Chris Froome (fi’zi:k Antares and Team Sky) making his 2017 debut at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on 29th January. As for Porte, his next race is Paris-Nice, which begins on 5th March.