Egan Bernal strengthened his grip on the Young Rider classification at the Tour Down Under with an impressive ride to fifth atop Willunga Hill.
On the last climb I felt good, but the other guys… They also felt good!
"On the last climb I felt good, but the other guys… They also felt good! But I’m happy with fifth and it’s nice to take the young rider’s jersey."
Sport Director Brett Lancaster was full of praise for the 21 year old.
He told TeamSky.com: "It’s a good result. Maybe if Egan had waited and come with the next group he may have made the top two or three, but those guys caught him on the line. If not he might have put himself on the podium - but he’s only a young fella and he’s put in a great ride.
"All the boys have been great today supporting him, putting him in a good position, and he’s definitely one of our stars of the future."
Lancaster was quick to praise Bernal and his teammates for being in the right place at the right time too: "EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale hit the front in the crosswinds and that was a good little move by them, but we had guys at the front. Egan made that first little split with help from the boys and that worked out pretty well.
In the end the break was whittled down to King of the Mountains Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). The pair led the race over Willunga Hill before being swept up ahead of the second and final ascent of the climb.
Bernal remained right in the heart of the action, continually sat in the first five wheels, but when Porte made his move nobody could match the 'King of Willunga'.
1. Richie Porte (BMC) 3:42:22
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) +10"
4. Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
5. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) s.t.
4. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) +20"
6. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) s.t.