Richie Porte (Sky) bounced back from a crash on Saturday to win Paris-Nice on Sunday.
A day after taking a digger in the penultimate stage, the Australian time trial champion bounced back to win the final stage of the “Race to the Sun,” a 9.3km time trial up the Col d’Èze.
The stage was run in wind and rain, and world time trial champ Bradley Wiggins (Sky) decided to give it a miss.
German ITT champ Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) turned up to race, and held the hot seat with a time of 20 minutes and 52 seconds until Simon Spilak (Katusha) booted him out of it with a 20:36.
Then Porte did the same to Spilak, surfing briskly up the road to the winning time of 20:23.
Spilak hung onto second, while Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) rode to third on the day at 24 seconds.
Yellow jersey Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) was not going nearly as well — he was down on the top marks at the time check and finished 29th at 1:39 down, sliding right off the podium.
He was predictably crestfallen.
“Yeah, of course I’m really disappointed. One day we can be brilliant and the next it’s all bad,” Gallopin said. “It was an absolutely terrible day, really hard. I felt it from the beginniing‚ I had no legs at all. I wasn’t good today. It was a bad day for me and I’m afraid that’s the way sport works.”
In the end, Porte had his second Paris-Nice title, with Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx) second at 30 seconds and Spilak third in the same time.
“For me now to win this it’s just a fantastic feeling,” said Porte. “It’s one of the iconic races. I think this one feels a little bit sweeter than the last one (in 2013).”
Spilak was happy to have made the podium.
“It was my objective to reach the overall podium here in Paris-Nice, so I am really happy I did it today,” said Spilak. “I think our tactic yesterday was a good one. I took some important seconds, which helped me today to reach the podium.
“Today I was very motivated. I knew I could do well and on the distance I performed at 100 percent.”