Richie Porte says headwind stopped him taking more time at Tour Down Under

The Australian said he would have liked to put more time into rival Daryl Impey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Richie Porte has started 2020 with a bang as usual.

The Trek-Segafredo leader blasted his rivals on the testing Torrens Hill Road climb at the Tour Down Under, taking valuable time and the race lead in his pursuit of the overall title.

But the home favourite says he would have liked to put more time into reigning champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), but that a bruising headwind slowed his attack.

Speaking after victory on stage three, Porte said: “I felt good at the bottom of the climb and got a bit of a gap there. It was a shame it was such a headwind in the finale as I think we could have done some real damage.

“I had to go when I went even with the headwind – there was nothing else you could do but get a decent gap. I would have liked to have taken a little more time on Daryl, and I think I lost a bit of time there [when the road flattened] in the last 300 metres.”

Stage three of the 2020 edition of the Tour Down Under, from Unley to Paracombe, has been described as the Queen’s stage of the race, owing to the final 1.2km, nine per cent average final climb to the line.

Porte has previous form on this climb, winning the stage back in 2017 when he went on to take the overall title.

Despite Porte’s stage winning success in the Tour Down Under, it’s Daryl Impey who is the marked man for the overall, after the South African won the previous two editions of the race.

Porte will be looking to smash the final Willunga Hill stage of this year’s race, continuing his streak of six wins on this particular climb.

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Porte added: “Daryl is still the man to beat, I think. Historically [Paracombe] has been the queen stage, but two more stages before Willunga – the race is not over yet.

“There’s time bonuses on the road as well, and I expect that Mitchelton will go for that.

“You have to take the victories when you can and I will savour this one. I’m happy to get the win today for the team. The thing is I felt good and that bodes well for the next few days.”

Porte leads the race by just six seconds over Impey, with Robert Power trailing in third at nine seconds.