Photographer Unknown’s ‘Richie Porte follows Cadel Evans up the climb, but couldn’t hold on’ (2014)
Evans put Team Sky under pressure on Corkscrew
Corkscrew Hill proved decisive for a second year in succession and Porte was quick to take it up alongside compatriot Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) on the steep slopes.
Evans pushed onwards over the top while Porte was left to link up with the ochre jersey of Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) on the descent, yet there would be no catching Evans who claimed the stage by 15 seconds and moved into the race lead.
Porte finished safely inside the main group of chasers which included team-mate Thomas, the winner on the stage last year. The result elevated the Welshman up to sixth overall, 29 seconds back on Evans while Porte sits just outside the top 10 in 11th, a further four seconds back.
Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) and stage two winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) led home the chasing pack after the peloton had blown to pieces on the final ascent.
“When Cadel went I tried to follow but through the hairpins he just kicked and I couldn’t go with him,” Porte told Sky Sports after the stage.
“I’m looking forward to Willunga. It’s a different climb and I think us three Aussies, Cadel, Gerro and myself, will hope it’s the same thing again. We’ll see what happens. I’m a little bit disappointed. It was quite a frantic start to the climb. The team were brilliant today and Geraint was right there as well. We’ll see what happens on Saturday. It’s probably a bit more suited to me that climb but I think at the moment if Cadel’s as good on Willunga as he was today there’s not a hell of a lot you can do.”
The most selective stage of the race thus far greeted the peloton in Norwood as four riders went away including the evergreen Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing). The German was joined by
Travis Meyer (Drapac Cycling), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Jerome Cousin (Europcar) in a strong quartet which was controlled by the bunch.
For the third day in succession Orica-GreenEdge were on hand to marshal the race on behalf of leader Gerrans, with more teams adding firepower to the front in the closing stages.
A huge increase in pace ahead of Corkscrew Hill saw the escapees reeled in with 17km to go as teams began to jostle for position ahead of the key ascent.
Philip Deignan took it up on the early slopes for Team Sky as the peloton thinned out significantly and it wasn’t long before Evans and Porte opened out some daylight.
That drew a reaction from the ochre jersey of Gerrans but there was no stopping Evans who consolidated his 15-second gap at the summit with just a 7km decent into Campbelltown remaining.
After the stage Sports Director Kurt-Asle Arvesen admitted there wasn’t much more the team could have done against such a great solo performance.
“The team did fantastic,” he said to Sky Sports. “We gave it a go and Richie was at the front there with Cadel and Geraint was just behind. We were just missing that little bit extra on the top guys. We just have to try again on Saturday and the one really selective stage to go. We came here to win and now that looks like it is going to be hard. But we won’t give up. It’s clear Cadel Evans and Simon Gerrans will be hard guys.”