Ewan wins again, Porte claims Tour title

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    The Criterium du Dauphine continues today after Richie Porte's victory in yesterday's time trial (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

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    Australian sprint ace Caleb Ewan has won the last Tour Down Under stage as compatriot Richie Porte confirmed his overall title.

    Ewan (Orica-Scott) narrowly beat two-time defending world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) to take out stage six, a 90km Adelaide street race.

    It is Ewan’s fourth stage win in this Tour and his seventh win already this year.

    Ewan dominated the sprint stages and also took out the points classification.

    Porte (BMC) won the Tour for the first time and his 48-second margin over Colombian Esteban Chavez is the second-largest in race history.

    Winning the Tour is a perfect start to a year where Porte’s main aim is the Tour de France podium.

    While Porte’s overall lead was never under threat on Sunday, Australians Nathan Haas and Jay McCarthy had a tight battle for third place on the podium.

    Haas’ superb second place on Saturday at Willunga meant the Dimension Data rider moved into third overall.

    McCarthy had to briefly stop on the final Willunga climb when he clipped wheels with another rider, costing him dearly – he started the last stage three seconds behind Haas.

    But McCarthy took the first intermediate sprint ahead of Ewan.

    That gave McCarthy three bonus seconds and his star Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Sagan took third place, ensuring no-one else could claim bonus time.

    That put McCarthy and Haas equal on overall time in third place.

    The second intermediate sprint placings were taken by a small breakaway, meaning the final sprint would decide third place in the tour.

    McCarthy won on a countback after he and Haas finished in the main bunch.

    But this year’s Tour belonged to Porte and Ewan.

    The only two stages that Ewan did not win, went to Porte.

    Porte took the race lead with his devastating attack at the end of stage two at Paracombe.

    On Saturday, he won the Willunga stage for the fourth year in a row.

    His title follows runner-up finishes for the last two years.

    Porte hopes Ewan will race in this year’s Tour de France.

    “I tip my hat to Caleb Ewan, he’s a massive, massive talent,” Porte said.

    “Australia needs to get behind him, he’s the next Robbie McEwen.

    “He’s amazing, I’d love to see him at the Tour (de France) this year.

    “He’ll win three or four stages this year if he’s there.”

    But Porte and Australian cycling will probably have to wait at least until next year to see Ewan at the Tour de France.

    Orica-Scott have been careful with the 22-year-old’s development and his more likely Grand Tour this year will be a return to the Giro d’Italia.

    © AAP 2017

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