Richie Porte won on Willunga Hill for the third consecutive year at the Tour Down Under, but Simon Gerrans is poised to win overall after holding the ochre jersey on stage five.
Porte’s acceleration on the second ascent of Willunga Hill was enough to seal his first victory in BMC Racing colours, having won on his previous two appearances with Team Sky, but once again it was not enough to overhaul Gerrans’ lead.
Three-time champion Gerrans, winner of both stages three and four, finished eighth on the day – 17 seconds in arrears – and leads Porte by nine seconds overall.
Four men had earlier forged clear to form the day’s break, with Lars Boom (Astana), Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) earning some air time.
Ligthart started the stage within two minutes of Gerrans overall, and rolled through both intermediate sprints in first place, but Orica-GreenEDGE were happy to watch the break build a healthy lead.
The advantage stood at six minutes at one point, though contributions from Cannondale, Tinkoff, BMC Racing and Ag2r-La Mondiale had all helped to bring that down to 2’30” on the first passage of Willunga Hill.
Janse van Rensburg crested the climb in first place but was rejoined by his breakaway companions on the descent as their lead gradually ebbed away on the final lap.