[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″]

Once again Richie Porte has won on Old WIllunga Hill. Once again time bonuses will determine who the winner of the Santos Tour Down Under will be. And that honour is likely to go to Daryl Impey.


Photos: Jean-Pierre Ronco

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″]

The fifth stage of the Santos Tour Down Under is traditionally the one that determines the winner. It ends on top of a hill. Traditionally known as ‘Old Willunga Hill’, in cycling circles at least it’s sure to become ‘Richie Porte Hill’. He’s won here again and again and again and again and… yep, again.

Since 2014 when he raced with Sky through to 2018 when he is the defending champion, riding with BMC Racing, the Tasmanian has triumphed on The Hill.

It is here that a road turns into a stadium for a day. Huge crowds flock to the site in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia. It is here that the title is decided. It is here that the sport of cycling is celebrated. It is here that spirits are high and legs are tested and people grin at one another while baking in the heat and waiting for a peloton.

It is here that Richie Porte really shows why he is one of the best cyclists in the world.

What comes next is anyone’s guess. Summer will soon turn to winter for many of the riders who raced in extreme heat and the season will roll on.

It won’t be long before the exploits of André Greipel, Caleb Ewan, Elia Viviani, Peter Sagan and Richie Porte get relegated to the memory banks of aficionados and the name of Daryl Impey will rise to the top of references relating to the 20th edition of the Tour Down Under.

The South African has done what many before him have achieved: won the title thanks to consistency – and, crucially, the collection of time bonuses from one day to the next.

Impey isn’t The Champion of the 20th yet. He has a day to race. The circuit in the city of Adelaide will give him the chance to show off the ochre jersey, the prize he took from Peter Sagan, the prize that will remind him that he is a winner.

He didn’t throw his hands in the air as he crossed the line – that’s the spoils that Greipel, Ewan, Viviani, Sagan and Porte had from their visit to South Australia.

Daryl was ‘next best’ in stages. In Stirling, Uraidla and at the top of Richie Porte Hill.

And the runner-up became the leader.


* * * * *

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″ src=”https://www.ridemedia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Impey.jpg” show_bottom_space=”on” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″]

Daryl Impey and Richie Porte are on the same time after fifth stage of the 20th Tour Down Under… but the South African leads the Tasmanian on GC because of a count-back of stage placings…

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” _builder_version=”3.0.93″]

Daryl Impey can be satisfied. He should be happy. He would have liked to have won a stage – and there’s still a day to go for him to chase that goal. And, of course, a stage to go before he can truly kick back in the comfort of knowing he’s the champion.

It could be that he wins the circuit race in Adelaide but don’t be surprised if the rider in the leader’s jersey is leading out his younger team-mate, the winner on the final day in 2017, Mr Ewan.

Daryl works for others but today he became a leader in his own right.

For his Mitchelton-Scott team it’s a celebration, a worthy one, a chance to raise a toast to a rider who has been in the line-up since the inception of the Aussie-registered WorldTour squad. They have won the title every second year since 2012: Simon Gerrans in the team’s debut season, ‘Gerro’ again in 2014 and… again in 2016.

Last year was Gerrans’ last year with the ‘GreenEdge’ team. Gerrans has won on Richie Porte hill in the past, in 2013… the last time anyone other than Richie Porte won stage five of the TDU.

This year, Gerro has switched allegiances and swapped roles, he’s now working for The Man and the man is Richie… he is impressive and the way he ignites the cheers of the crowd reminds us that he’s not only a dynamic climber but a popular sportsman who has the support of many.

But a count-back of stage placings puts Richie being Daryl, albeit on the same cumulative time for GC.

The general classification is led by Impey and the defending champion will (likely) be runner-up again.



– By Rob Arnold