Porte climbs to Tour Down Under lead

Richie Porte, aboard his fi’zi:k Arione saddle and competing for BMC Racing Team, rode into the ochre jersey today, claiming a brilliant win on stage two of the Tour Down Under. After a memorable solo attack at the base of the notorious Paracombe climb, Porte crossed the finish line 16 seconds ahead of Gorka Izagirre (fi’zi:k Aliante VSX and Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), and now leads Izagirre by 20 seconds on GC. The stage win is Porte’s fourth at the Tour Down Under but the first time he’s worn the prized ochre jersey.

"The boys [including Damiano Caruso, fi’zi:k R1B Uomo shoes, and Danillo Wyss, fi’zi:k Aliante R1 saddle] were just incredible this morning," Porte said after the stage. "They really looked after me and it’s nice to win on Paracombe."

The steep 1.6km ramp to the finish in Paracombe is a test for the strongest of cyclists but 31-year-old Porte simply floated up it, revealing afterwards that he’d spent a good portion of the winter specifically training for this climb.

It proved an exciting end to the 148.5km stage, which began with five laps of a circuit around Stirling – thankfully in temperatures of 19°C rather than the blistering 46°C of stage one. Jasha Sutterlin (fi’zi:k Arione VSX and Movistar) clearly enjoyed the cooler conditions, launching a solo attack on lap one and carving out a 5-minute lead. Sutterlin dug deep but, with 40km to go, the peloton consumed him. It was then left to Porte’s teammates to deliver their man to the front at the base of Paracombe.

Porte is now in a strong position to take his maiden victory at an event he’s finished runner-up in twice. The Tour Down Under concludes on Sunday.