Richie Porte has won one of the most important races of the year and an event he has targeted for years, the Criterium du Dauphine.
The Tasmanian went into the overall lead on the penultimate stage and enjoyed solid support from Ineos teammates including Geraint Thomas who crashed while just ahead of Richie in the final 10km. Battered and bruised, Geraint caught the lead group and was there as Richie crossed the line for his overall 17-second victory.
“I’ve been second here twice and then I also lost second place one year in the last kilometre as well,” said an elated Porte after the win.
“To finally win it I’m just over the moon. For all the sacrifices and the time away from my wife and two kids, this makes it worth it. This team INEOS Grenadiers were just absolutely brilliant today.”
“I know the descent of the Joux-Plane well. We’ve done it many, many times. I decided to do my own pace, then when I saw G crash obviously it wasn’t ideal for the last six kilometres. But he came back, he’s got some pretty bad road rash but he’ll be tip top for the Tour.”
With the Dauphine considered a form finder and major build up race to the Tour de France, Porte remains well aware of his role at the talent-stacked team.
“I’m under no illusions as to what my job is at the Tour,” he said. “To win this race just means so so much to me. It’s a race I’ve always enjoyed, and to finally win it at 36 years old is a sweet moment.”
2021 Criterium Dauphine Top 5:
1. Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers) 29:37:05
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +17”
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +29”
4. Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) +33”
5. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +34”