The experienced Belgian enjoyed a solid start to the season, capping off a great week for Deceuninck – Quick-Step in Adelaide.
For the first time in twenty-one years of Tour Down Under, the race concluded with a stage atop Willunga Hill, the now iconic climb averaging 7.1% over 3.6 kilometers, where everything was to be decided. Starting from McLaren Vale, the 151.5km-long stage 6 included two trips up Willunga Hill, and it was on the first of these that the day’s seven fugitives were reeled in just as an important selection was being made in the peloton.
With the overall leader among those dropped on the steep section of the short but taxing ascent, the race became wide open, and several men tried to take advantage of that by attacking on the flat run-in to the climb and putting more than half of minute between them and what was left of the bunch, a gap which in the end didn’t help them too much when it came down to crunch time.
Dries Devenyns – our best placed rider in the general classification – started the day in 12th place, and paced himself perfectly, making his way up through the field, in the last kilometers of Willunga Hill, where furious attacks started to pour from the group. The decisive move came just before the red kite, when Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) jumped from the group and went on to take a solo victory, ahead of Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), the latter clinching the overall.
Now in his 13th pro season, Dries gained two positions in the standings and concluded the race in tenth place, after getting the same result on the stage. The 35-year-old – oldest rider to finish in the top 10 at this edition of the Tour Down Under – capped off a great week for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who leaves Adelaide not only with this strong result in the GC, but also with a stage win and a stint in the leader’s jersey, both brought by Italian Champion Elia Viviani.
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