Impey steals surprise Tour Down Under lead

Impey steals surprise Tour Down Under lead

Australia's Richie Porte won Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under, but it was not enough to claim the race leader's ochre jersey which went to his compatriot Daryl Impey with both riders level on time.

Porte, the defending champion, says Impey and his Australian team Mitchelton-Scott will be too strong to overcome.

Out of the saddle, the defending champion charged for the finish line but - as he celebrated his stage victory - the strength of Impey's comeback became apparent as he came into sight just behind.

That leaves Porte and Impey tied for first place overall with one stage left.

Porte (BMC) won the Willunga stage for the fifth year in a row, while Impey was a surprise second across the line.

A group of seven riders, including King of the Mountains leader Nicholas Dlamini, cleared away at the front, at one stage opening a lead of five-and-a-half minutes.

But provided nothing goes wrong in the Adelaide street race, Porte said Impey would win the Tour for the first time.

Mitchelton-Scott loudly declared their main objective was stage wins through sprinter Caleb Ewan - not the overall title.

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The Australian cycling star has looked untroubled so far in his first stage race since the frightful crash last July that ended his Tour de France.

Porte said on Twitter that the dip in the ocean was "the best thing about our trip to Victor Harbor".

Porte started the day 14 seconds behind race leader Peter Sagan on the overall standings, but Sagan wilted early on the climb.

Sagan conceded that the heat today was among the toughest conditions he had experienced before predicting that tomorrow's 151.5km stage to Willunga Hill would be key. However, Sagan held tight and even went on the attack.

"It was always in the back of my mind that I had to do a big sprint to the end, and when I saw Jay (McCarthy) just in front of me, I thought "There goes the podium if I don't catch him".

McCarthy was third overall at nine seconds heading into Willunga and was considered Porte's biggest rival.

He managed to break clear as well near the finish, crossing a clear second and restricted his time loss to Porte. The flat terrain generally does not allow leading riders to gain an advantage over their rivals, although there are 16 seconds in time bonuses available in the two intermediate sprints, as well as a 10-second bonus for the stage victor.

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