COL D’EZE, France (VN) — Richie Porte (Team Sky) won the 2013 Paris-Nice on Sunday after crushing the final stage, a 9.6km uphill time trial to Col d’Eze.
After blitzing the intermediate checkpoint an astounding 21 seconds faster than Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), Porte hit the line in 19 minutes and 16 seconds, 23 seconds better than the American, bumping him into second on the day. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Movistar) took third at 27 seconds.
“I woke up this morning and I knew that I had good legs. After the armchair ride that I got from the team yesterday — as well as on stage five and for the entire week — I knew I’d be in good shape,” said Porte.
“When you’ve got this jersey on, it’s like having another gear. I had great legs. I still cannot believe I won it like that.”
Talansky, meanwhile, said he had “absolutely no regrets.”
“I gave it everything I had,” he said. “It’s more satisfying to be second like this because Porte showed he was the strongest in the race. That’s what I love about cycling, because usually the strongest guys finish on top. Richie and I were the two strongest guys here, so he’s a deserving winner.”
In the final overall standings it was Porte once again taking the victory in 29:59:47, with Talansky second at 55 seconds and Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale) third at 1:21 despite decking it early in the stage and still just missing the day’s podium, finishing fourth at 32 seconds behind Porte.
“I can’t believe it. It’s just an honor to have my name up there with Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin, all the big champions,” said Porte, the first Australian to win Paris-Nice, who with the victory also took over the lead in the UCI WorldTour.
“It’s one of the monuments, but Paris-Nice has never been good to me. The crosswinds, the weather, there are classics riders, then there is the GC battle. It’s a funny one. Now that I’ve won it, I love this race. Everyone knows what a hard race it is. It’s a good all-round rider who wins here.”
The 28-year-old Tasmanian wasn’t letting the success go to his head, however.
“I’m still doing my apprenticeship, and I’m still learning off Bradley and Chris [Froome],” he said. “I don’t expect to go to the Tour and ride for general classification. I’m in a good place at the moment and I don’t want to change anything. I’m going to take it as it comes. Whatever happens we’re gonna have a hell of a team for the Tour de France.”
Meanwhile, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) made it two Americans in the top five, finishing fifth on the day at 52 seconds to land in fourth overall at 1:44. And he, too, was looking forward to races later in the season
“I don’t go to any race hoping to finish fourth, but I am satisfied with how the week went,” he said. “Porte was obviously the strongest here and he deserved to win. I have other goals later in the season, so I come here at 90 percent. Sometimes you can win at 90 percent, but Porte was another level. The team rode well for me all week and they really supported me. I’ve taken a bit of confidence out of that. This was an important goal, but the real meat of my season is from May to August, with California, Swiss, the Tour and Colorado.”
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from Paris-Nice.