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Battling Porte fourth in Tirreno Adriatico

Richie Porte has played an impressive bit part in his final stab at the Tirreno Adriatico race as Slovenia’s astonishing cycling double act of Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic glittered once more on the European roads.

Pogacar raced away for his second superb stage win in Italy’s Tirreno Adriatico on Saturday while compatriot Roglic won the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice as they both effectively sealed their victories in the two famous week-long races.

The rest of the field was blown apart as Pogacar, who a week earlier had won the Strade Bianche classic with a 50km solo tour de force, this time sped away with less than 15km to go to decimate his opposition.

The Tour de France champion eventually crossed the line 1min 3sec ahead of Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard and takes a 1:52 lead into Sunday’s final eighth stage.

Yet in his final Tirreno Adriatico, the 37-year-old Porte figured strongly in the double ascent of the Monte Carpegna to finish fourth on the stage, albeit over a minute and a half behind the Slovenian, to move into fourth overall.

A place on the podium in his final season is not out of the question as the Tasmanian veteran is only a second down on Spain’s third-placed Mikel Landa.

Ineos Grenadiers’ Porte and fellow Aussie Jai Hindley, the 2020 Giro d’Italia runner-up, rode strongly with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Hindley eventually battling his way home 15 seconds down on his compatriot to move into fifth overall.

In France, Roglic was supreme again in the Alps on the Col de Turini, powering away from Dani Martinez and Team BikeExchange-Jayco’s Simon Yates to take the seventh stage.

It was so impressive and so familiar that Briton Yates, the leader of his Australian pro team, could only shrug: “There’s not much you can do when he (Roglic) is in second gear.

“He’s not even breathing and everyone else is panting!”

Roglic’s victory puts him in control in the gc before Sunday’s final stage, with Yates in second 47sec behind and Jack Haig the leading Australian in sixth place, 2:12 down.

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