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Mar 15, 2015 – The conditions were different, the competition as fierce, but Richie Porte remained the king of Col d’Eze, two years after becoming the first Australian to win Paris-Nice. Gusty winds and rainy spells were not enough to stop the Team Sky leader dominating the final 9.6-km time trial on the classic pass overlooking Nice in 20 minutes and 23 seconds, 1:07 slower than in 2013. Our photographer Kåre Dehlie Thorstad was on scene it the wet conditions to capture the incredible ride by Richie Porte, Spilak and Costa, the big winners on the day.
ASO/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
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Tony Gallopin’s advantage of 36 seconds at the start was finally too slim for the yellow jersey holder to retain his garment. The Frenchman finished 1:03 short of becoming the first local rider to be crowned in the Race to the sun, rather rainy this year, since 1997. In the final overall standings, Porte led world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (EQS), Slovenia’s Simon Spilak (KAT) and 2013 world champion Rui Costa (LAM) by 30 seconds.
Stijn Vandenbergh (EQS), who did a tremendous work for his leader Michal Kwiatkowski all week, was the first rider in action but the first reference time was clocked by polka-dot jersey holder Thomas De Gendt (LTS). The Belgian clocked 21:19 and rode the climb at full speed to take indications for leader Tony Gallopin. Runner-up to Richie Porte in 2013, Andrew Talansky (TCG) clocked 21 minutes precisely, 1:21 slower than two years ago. He was dislodged from top spot by three-times time trial world champion Tony Martin, the first man under 21 minutes on 20:52.
As the top ten riders went into action, Simon Spilak (KAT) set the barrier high by clocking 20:36. Only 2013 world champion Rui Costa came close at first in 20:47. But as soon as Porte and Gallopin were on course, the doubts quickly disappeared. After the first intermediate time (5.5 km), Tony Gallopin had already lost 58 seconds on the Australian champion. On the line, he had given 1:39 back to the 2013 winner, who triumphed for a second time on Col d’Eze and seized the yellow jersey on the last day after winning the queen stage at Croix de Chaubouret. A good fifth on the day, in the same time as team-mate Tony Martin, Michal Kwiatkowski was rewarded for a brilliant Paris-Nice by snatching second place overall, 30 seconds behind Porte, and the best young rider white jersey. The podium was especially right, third-placed Spilak and fourth-placed Rui Costa all finishing in the same time. Gallopin had to be content with 6th place, 1:03 behind the Australian. Michael Matthews (OGE) retained his points classification green jersey