sport

Porte claims Willunga crown

Team Sky's Richie Porte rode to an emphatic solo victory on Willunga Hill as Simon Gerrans reclaimed the race lead at Tour Down Under.

Tasmanian Porte leapt clear of his rivals with two kilometres to go on the famous climb and turned the screw on the steep slopes to claim stage five by a margin of 10 seconds.

The result and bonus seconds elevated Porte up to fourth on the general classification, 10 seconds back on new leader Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).

The fight for the ochre jersey provided thrilling action with overnight leader Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) believing attack was the best form of defence of his seven-second lead.

With his team upping the pace it was Evans who hit out first on the fan-lined climb, dragging Porte with him as Gerrans was forced to come across the gap. Sensing his moment Porte bolted, putting daylight into Evans, who saw Gerrans and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) draw up alongside him.

Ulissi edged Gerrans in the sprint for second after the pair had distanced Evans to the tune of four seconds at the line, meaning the jersey changed hands by the slenderest of margins - one second.

The action looks set to go down to the wire with the top four in the standings separated by just 10 seconds going into the final stage criterium in Adelaide.

"The guys were absolutely incredible today," said Porte after the stage. "It was a little bit of a shame on the Corkscrew stage as I was a little bit out of position and lost some time.

"But I felt great coming into today. The team had a plan and the boys were incredible. Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas were there to the last minute. They dropped me off right on the front at the start of the climb and victory is credit to all those guys.

"It's January and I'm not in top form just yet. To win in Australia and on this climb is a very special victory."