(Above photos: ©Vareel Patel/onev.com.au)
Ruben Guerreiro gave a valiant effort on the final climb of Willunga Hill in stage five of the Tour Down Under, but the searing pace set from the bottom was too much for the young Portuguese climber who crossed the line in 21st place, losing the best young rider's jersey to Colombian Jhonatan Restrepo of (Katusha-Alpecin) by 18 seconds.
There was no stopping Australian Richie Porte (BMC), who made it all look easy as he danced away on the final climb, giving him four successive victories on Willunga Hill. With a comfortable lead of 48 seconds he is set to cement the overall win tomorrow.
The general classification behind Porte shuffled, with Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) moving into second and Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) climbing from fifth to third. Ruben Guerreiro slipped from 10th to 18th, but the young neo-pro still claimed the top GC position of the team: a respectable top 20 in his first WorldTour race.
We caught up with Pete Stetina after the race who gave us an overview of how things unfolded out on the road:
"The team was perfect again today. Like every day, the climbers have helped on the flats and the sprinters for the climbs. Today Mads Pedersen probably did the work of 20 guys. He actually rode 70kms in the wind right next to the leading team, by himself. It was damn impressive.
"In the selection the first time up Willunga, we were all in good position. We rallied together, and Laurent [Didier] brought Ruben, Pantano and me into a good position. We got caught out a bit in the crosswind coming into the Willunga the second time, and everyone started the final climb a little gassed; the Aussies in their summer form were able to take advantage of us. It was a shame because good teamwork kind of took the highlight over a big result, where we wish we had both.
"It was a good learning experience for our young neo-pro Ruben; it sounds like he just lost the white jersey by a bit. But he learned how to fight for a jersey in his first WorldTour race, which will be important for the future."