Richie Porte stamped his authority on Willunga Hill with an incredible fifth consecutive win on stage 5 of the Santos Tour Down Under which put him into second overall on the same time as new race leader Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).
“I tell you what that was the hardest one to win so far. I think it was such a hard lead in there at the bottom when Education First put it into the gutter. I felt great and the guys looked after me all day but it hurt so much”, said Porte.
“We talked about it this morning with guys like Simon Gerrans. He has been a fantastic addition to our team. I couldn’t look back, I just had to go. Of course, you look back a bit and I could see that Jay McCarthy (Bora-hansgrohe) was strong to start with. I think this stage is much better for me than it is for him so I just stuck in. I must admit with 300 meters to go, I almost stopped. Maybe I went a bit too hard. Last year winning with the ochre jersey was special but this is up there as one of the most special too.”
“It’s probably the hardest time that I have done this climb. It really hurt today. There were guys in the gravel and it was absolute carnage. You can’t say it was unexpected, it’s what happens every year. My team were fantastic today as per always. Rohan Dennis really laid it all on the line there.”
“Realistically, I don’t really have a chance to move up. I’m happy with where I am all things considered. I had a tough second half of last year so to be up here and win Willunga for a fifth time in a row, I have to say I’m happy. But of course, I would have loved to have won the overall. If I was good enough to win, I would have done it here today on Willunga. Hats off to Daryl. He’s a good mate and a fantastic bike rider. It was up to me today to put more time into him and I wasn’t good enough to quite finish the day off. I’m happy with another stage win. I have to be happy with second.”
“It has been a tough time. It was a nasty crash and it knocked me around but I think I can have the best season and I’m motivated for that. I worked hard back in Tasmania and did some fantastic training so I am super motivated for this season. I just hope come July I can be on top form. I have a fantastic bunch of people around me from my team, my wife, and my family.”