23 Jan 2021

King of Willunga Hill, Richie Porte, retains his crown

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The question on everybody's lips for the Queen stage of the Santos Festival of Cycling has been - will Richie Porte take the win up Willunga Hill, or will he make way for the next generation?

Today, our questions were answered.

Be Safe Be Seen Men's Stage 3 McLaren Vale to Willunga was full of surprises, complete with a breakaway, two nail biting sprints and an unpredictable final climb.

An early attack saw a breakaway of five, which quickly grew to nine after a brave response from some of the peloton.

Out at snapper point, the race was on for the intermediate sprint points, with Cyrus Monk of Cycle House Racing going too hard too soon only to be overtaken at the last second by Thomas Bolton of Oliver's Real Food Racing.

Learning from the first occasion, Monk timed his sprint the second round slightly better - enough to take out the three points, although only by a split second with Bolton hot on his wheel.

The breakaway created a 2:30 gap, before climbers from the peloton, complete with Richie Porte, Luke Durbridge and Luke Plapp, caught up by the base of Willunga Hill.

Then, it was Richie's race.

Close on Richie's back wheel was Team Garmin Australia teammate, and BikeExchange Stage 2 winner, Luke Plapp within the final 1km in a case of master and apprentice riding in tandem.

It was clear Plapp wasn't going to overtake his senior as he applauded Porte across the Shimano King of The Mountain line, and then shortly after, the finish line.

Porte is pretty sure Plapp could've taken him if he wanted to.

"Plappy could've easily come around me and he didn't... [he] was the stronger of the two of us."

While Porte claimed Be Safe Be Seen Stage 3, Luke Durbridge of Team BikeExchange still holds on to the Santos Leader's jersey and Ziptrak Sprint jersey going into the final stage.

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