He?s won Paris ? Nice and was the first lieutenant to Tour de France winner Chris Froome, but now Tasmania?s?Richie Porte?(Sky) can finally call himself a national champion. In wet Buninyong conditions, Porte ripped through the hilly 40.9 kilometre course in a blistering 51 minutes and 50.86 seconds, seven seconds ahead of?Rohan Dennis?(BMC) and 26 seconds ahead of?Jack Bobridge?(Budget Forklifts).
?I?m thrilled to bits to win and what a great podium we?ve got. To win this time trial in such a class field is fantastic,? said an ecstatic Porte. It?s taken Porte more than seven years to claim an elusive green and gold jersey, having won two time trial bronze medals and then road race bronze in 2014 behind Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Cadel Evans (BMC). ?I?m absolutely thrilled to ride in Europe with the national time trial championship jersey, I?m just excited I can?t wait. ?I think it was a great course for me and it was great to have Andrew Christie-Johnson of Avanti racing behind me, it was like being back in the old days it was fantastic,? said Porte of his former coach and team manager. ?I haven?t done a good time trial on a course like this for a long time but we?ve done a lot of work on my time trial position and it?s a credit to Tim Kerrison [Team Sky] who?s believed in me even after the disaster which was 2014,? said Porte who battled illness throughout the previous season. It was heartbreak for Dennis who clocked a 32 seconds advantage on Porte at the turn-around point. ?I probably went out a little bit too hard. From my own calculations at the halfway point I was pretty sure I was up on Richie, but he came home a lot harder than me obviously,? said the visibly exhausted Dennis post race. ?It is disappointing for myself to get second again, but for someone of Richie?s calibre to beat me, and the race being so close, I can somewhat hold my head high,? said Dennis who consistently found the podium in a number of World Tour level?time trials in 2014 as well as at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. For Bobridge, it was positive signs of form heading into Sunday?s road race and his attempt at the track time trial hour world record on January 31. ?I?m rapt to come away with third, I?m still super happy with that,? said Bobridge. ?Obviously Richie [Porte] was on another level today so you?ve got to take your hat off to him. ?Obviously I?ve had a little bit of a different preparation from last year, with a lot more base endurance stuff and left the intensity to later, obviously to base myself around the hour record.? The elite men will meet again in Buninyong on Sunday, January 11, for the elite men?s road race beginning at 10.50am. Text via Cycling Australia Media Release