Richie Porte took a commanding lead in the 2020 Tour Down Under on stage three after attacking late-on up the climb to the finish and holding on for the win.
After catching his breath, the Trek-Segafredo rider has now posted his ride to Strava, showing fans and fellow pros alike what it took to bring the first WorldTour race victory of 2020 within the Tasmanian’s reach.
The undulating terrain of the queen stage made for 4,262ft of elevation over the 131km course. The Australian averaged 40km/h during the just over three hours it took him to cross the finish line first.
After the breakaway had been reeled in with under 10km to go the real test of the stage was still ahead. The finish line ramp up to Paracombe was short at only 1.2km but had a punishing gradient of 9.3 per cent.
As soon as the peloton got on to the climb, UAE Team Emirates’ Marco Marcato attacked, with Trek-Segafredo then working to quickly bring him back in before Porte launched his own move with around 1km left to race.
The 34-year-old immediately gained a significant gap on the peloton, led by Ineos who were trying to set things up for Rohan Dennis. Porte powered on though and managed to cross the line with a five-second gap to second place Robert Power (Sunweb) who led home the group of favourites.
At the time of Porte’s decisive attack his power output is estimated to have jumped from 200 watts to over 1,000 watts as he broke away from the main field.
As Porte hit the flatter section with 500m to go, he put in further accelerations of 700-800w, with a peak of over 1,000w as the chase ensued behind.
Simon Yates counter-attacked with 200m remaining, but Porte continued his sprint out of the saddle towards the line and his five-second advantage gives him a six-second lead to protect going into the final stages.
Porte took the KoM on this final section with a time of 3-06, beating Ruben Guerreiro’s time on stage two of the 2017 edition of the race by three seconds. On that day, Porte was also the stage winner, beating Gorka Izagirre by 16 seconds.
The next fastest recorded time on this section in the 2020 stage was from defending champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), riding the segment seven seconds slower as he finished in sixth on the stage.
Porte also took another KoM on his ride as well as setting a number of personal best times. 10km into the race he took a KoM on a 10-minute section of the Uraidla Greenhill Road climb before Millbrook Chicken, the Aussie finding himself with good legs at the start of the 2020 season.
Stages four and five of the Tour Down Under 2020 are expected to be contested by sprinters, meaning the ochre jersey should stay on Porte’s shoulders.
However, stage six features a climactic finale on top of Willunga Hill to decide the overall winner. Having one on the climb every year since 2014, Porte will fancy his chances of taking the first victory of the 2020 WorldTour calendar to kick off his season.