Porte Wins Stage 7 of Paris-Nice 2013; Takes Overall
Today, Porte put an exclamation point on his victory by winning Stage 7, an uphill, 9.6-km time trial from Nice to Col d'Eze, in 19:16. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) finished second at 0:23, and Nairo Alexander Quintana (Movistar) finished third at 0:27.
The day's first starter was Rick Flens (Blanco), who posted a 22:35. Prologue winner Damien Gaudin (Europcar) took the lead with a 22:11. Less than a minute after Gaudin crossed the finish line, Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) obliterated the Europcar rider's time with a 20:59.
Roy stayed in the lead for nearly an hour until Matteo Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida) posted a 20:51. In rapid succession, Javier Moreno (Movistar), Jerome Coppel (Cofidis), and Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi) posted 20:47, 20:33, and 20:22, respectively. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), no time trialist, rode a 20:19 to take the lead.
Quintana bested Scarponi's time to become the new leader. At this point, the GC men were starting, and Tejay van Garderen (BMC), who began the day in sixth place at 0:52, rode a 20:08, which put him in provisional second place. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) was fourth at day's beginning, but his 20:51 saw him plummet to eighth. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who was fifth at the end of Stage 6, rode a 20:38 into third place overall.
The stage and the race would come down to Porte and Talansky. Talansky began the day in second place, 0:32 behind Porte. The American posted the day's fastest time at the checkpoint and crossed the finish line in 19:39. Porte, however, was flying. The Sky man bettered Talansky's time at the checkpoint by 0:21 and had added two more seconds to his advantage by the stage's end. The Australian thrust his fists into the air as he crossed the finish line.
This season is Porte's second with Sky, and he has spent his time supporting Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome in Grand Tours. Paris-Nice was a rare opportunity to win a major stage race, and Porte capitalized on it. Porte admits that he surprised himself.
"I just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice," the Sky man said. "For me personally, I've never had a nice experience at this race, so it's a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it."
Porte won Paris-Nice by 0:55 over Talansky and 1:21 over Peraud. Many of the riders in Paris-Nice will cross paths at Milan-San Remo, this season's first major classic. How will they fare? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!