21 Jan 2017

Porte in control in Tour Down Under

7:04 am on 21 January 2017

Australian Richie Porte is in the box seat and giving nothing away ahead of his favourite day at the Tour Down Under.

Australian cyclist Richie Porte.

Australian cyclist Richie Porte. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The BMC leader again stayed out of trouble on Friday, protecting his 20-second overall lead and coming a day closer to winning the Tour for the first time.

Compatriot Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) again won a bunch sprint, taking out the 150km fourth stage from Norwood to Campbelltown.

It was Ewan's third stage win this year and his fifth in total at the Tour.

Porte took the Tour lead for the first time in his career with a devastating attack at the end of the second stage to Paracombe.

It proved the Tasmanian is the best climber in the race field.

After avoiding any drama over the last two days, Porte will be the man to watch on Saturday at Willunga.

The traditional second-last stage features a summit finish and Porte has won it for the last three years.

He has attacked at the same spot on the Old Willunga Hill Rd climb, roughly 1km from the finish.

But each time Porte had to attack because he was trying to make up time on the race leader.

This year, it is up to his rivals to make the running.

He has a 20-second lead in the overall standings over Spaniard Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar), who is swathed in bandages after his stage-three crash.

Orica-Scott's Colombian sensation Esteban Chaves is third at 22 seconds.