Richie Porte has claimed a “dream”Â victory at the CritÃ©rium du DauphinÃ© after a tight final stage of the week-long race through the French Alps.
- Richie Porte twice finished as runner-up in the DauphinÃ© in 2013 and 2017
- Porte won the eight-stage race through south-east France by just 17Â seconds
- Porte is not expected to challenge for Tour de France honours later this month and will ride as a supporter for Ineos Grenadiers
After fending off a number of attacks on the mountainous eighth stage of the race,Â Porte finished safely in a group containing all the main protagonists, two minutes behind stage winner Mark Padun.
Previously a two-time DauphinÃ© runner up, Porte finished 17 seconds clear ofÂ Alexy Lutsenko after shepherding a number of attacks from his rivals onÂ the stage from La LÃ©chÃ¨re les Bains to Les Gets.
“Having been second here twice and one year losing second in the last kilometre, to finally win it I’m just over the moon,” Porte said.
It was not all plain sailing for Porte, who was defending the race lead he took on Saturday’s penultimate stage.
First, a mechanical issue about 50km from the finish forced Porte into a bike change, and then on the final climb to Les Gets his chief lieutenant, Geraint Thomas, slid off the road, left the Tasmanian potentially isolated.
However, Porte successfully shadowed the attacks from his rivals â includingÂ Alexey Lutsenko and Ion Izagirre, as well as fellow Australian Ben O’ConnorÂ â untilÂ Thomas fought back to regain his position at the front of the yellow jersey group.
“This team, Ineos Grenadiers,Â were just absolutely brilliant today,” Porte said, after gaining assistance from Thomas and last year’s Giro winner, Tao Geoghegan Hart.
Five of the last 10Â winners of the DauphinÃ© have gone on to win the Tour de France that year, and success in the race has long been an indicator of form heading into cycling’s showpiece event.
However, with both Thomas and Geoghegan Hart expected to lead Ineos’ charge at the Tour,Â Porte,Â who came third in last year’s Tour,Â was realistic of his position as super domestiqueÂ heading into the grand tour.
“I think that the way Tao [Geoghegan Hart] and Geraint [Thomas] and those guys helped me, I’d love to repay them.
“I don’t need the stress and pressure â¦ for me, this feels like a Tour de France victory.”
Porte is the first Australian winner of the DauphinÃ© since Phil Anderson 36 years prior.
At 36 years old, PorteÂ is the oldest ever winner of the DauphinÃ©, his sixth World Tour stage race victory.
The Tour de France begins on June 26 in Brest.