Richie Porte (Team Sky) has moved into the overall lead of the 2013 Paris-Nice with an emphatic victory on the summit of La Montagne de Lure.
The Australian, winner last year of the Volta ao Algarve, and a key lieutenant of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France, crossed the line nearly half-a-minute ahead of second-placed Denis Menchov (Katusha) to win stage five.
Porte relished one of the biggest wins of his career in a race where, with Chris Froome engaged at Tirreno-Adriatico, and Wiggins not due to race until the Volta a Catalunya, he was granted the freedom to pursue his own goals.
“I’ve done an apprenticeship if you like under Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and also before that Alberto Contador,” said the 26-year-old Tasmanian.
“You don’t always get the opportunity to ride for yourself in a team like this so when it comes you have to grab it with both hands. It’s just nice to get a big victory and I’ll take the rest as it comes.”
Talansky faded badly in the closing kilometres and was unable to match Porte’s final assault. The 24-year-old, now wearing the white jersey of best young rider, recovered to lead home an eight-strong group but by then had lost the race lead to Porte.
Earlier in the stage, the evergreen Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard) had attacked after just 14km, and was soon joined by Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun), Thierry Hupond (Argos-Shimano), and Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale).
Voigt’s group gained 6.30 on the bunch, but with the Garmin-driven peloton gaining, the German chose another 14km milestone to launch his second attack and drive clear with 163km covered. His brave move lasted until 7.5km from the line, when he was swept up by Porte’s Team Sky troops.
One of the British team’s closed-season signings, David Lopez, contributed the most to Porte’s cause, and was publicly thanked by the Australian after the stage. Lopez shut down an attack from Christophe Le Mével (Cofidis) who soon blew up, losing over a minute to the group in the closing five kilometres, but couldn’t prevent Scarponi going clear. Talansky responded to the Italian’s attack, and Porte responded to Talansky.
Irishman, Nico Roche (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), was the next to try to break clear, but he was shut down but Talansky. When Menchov attacked, however, the American was unable to respond, and Porte, seizing his chance, passed Menchov with ease and rode clear.
Paris-Nice 2013 – Stage five – Result
1) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky – 4.50.54
2) Denis Menchov (RUS) – Katusha +26”
3) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Garmin Sharp +33”
4) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing
5) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
6) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM
7) Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) – AG2R La Mondiale
8) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar
9) Simon Spilak (SLO) – Katusha
10) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
1) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky – 24.26.08
2) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Garmin-Sharp +32”
3) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Vacansoleil-DCM +42”
4) Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) – AG2R-La Mondiale +49”
5) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +52”
6) Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) – Omega Pharma-Quick-Step +53”
7) Simon Spilak (SLO) – Katusha
8) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida +54”
9) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
10) Peter Velits (SVK) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +56”