Richie Porte wins Paris-Nice after demolishing the field on Col d'Eze time trial
Richie Porte completed overall victory in the Paris-Nice by demolishing the field in the stage-seven time trial.
Last Updated: 10/03/13 6:36pm
The Team Sky rider went into the day with a 32-second lead in the general classification and extended that to 55 seconds with a supreme display, stopping the clock in 19 minutes 16 seconds - 23 seconds faster than second-placed Andrew Talansky, who was also runner-up overall.
It is the second stage-race victory of Porte's career, after his win at the Volta ao Algarve last year, and he becomes the first Australian to win Paris-Nice.
He also gives Team Sky their second successive triumph in the prestigious event, following Bradley Wiggins' win in 2012.
"I just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice," Porte told teamsky.com. "For me personally, I have never had a nice experience at this race so it is a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it.
"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 would be in good shape. The guys were just incredible this race."
Porte made a flying start to the 9.6km time trial and was already 21 seconds ahead at the intermediate split.
But despite victory being all but secured, he did not let up and posted a finishing time only four seconds slower than the course record set by Wiggins last year.
Earlier in the day, Jeremy Roy (FDJ) had been the first man to duck under the 21-minute mark with a time of 20:59, but after several riders had chipped handfuls of seconds off that mark, Colombia's Nairo Quintana (Movistar) set the first potential stage-winning time with a 19:43.
Talansky lowered that further to 19:39, but then Porte completed a dominant race victory with a superb performance that underlined his credentials as a potential team leader at Grand Tours.
Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was the only other man to break 20 minutes as he took fourth place on the stage and moved up to third place overall.
Afterwards, Porte hinted he may look to lead Team Sky at next year's Giro d'Italia.
He said: "I don't feel like I'm ready to lead at a Grand Tour yet. My goal is to go to the Tour and support Chris [Froome] and Brad [Wiggins]. Do that and maybe next year I could potentially lead Team Sky at the Giro."
Stage seven result
1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, 19:16
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +23secs
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +27
4 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +32
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, +52
6 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, +55
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +1.00
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +1.03
9 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +1.05
10 Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +1.06
Final general classification
1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, 29:59.47
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +55secs
3 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1.21
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, +1.44
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +1.47
6 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, +1.48
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +1.54
8 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM, +2.17
9 Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack-Leopard, +2.22
10 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +2.28