UAE Team Emirates: Diego Ulissi makes a great start to season at Tour Down Under
Italian helped by his teammates to grab second place
Diego Ulissi ensured a great start to the season for UAE Team Emirates when he powered to second place at the Tour Down Under opener.
A mass breakaway on the 151.5km finishing stage of the first UCI WorldTour race threw the overall standings into turmoil.
But with 5km to go, Ulissi’s teammates, Marco Marcato and Vegard Stake Laengen, did a superb job in the breakaway and it was through their efforts that Ulissi was able to launch his attack and finish 6th in the final stage and second in the general classification.
Italian Ulissi said: “At the beginning of the week I was aiming for a final place in the top 10. Finishing second here makes me very happy.
"From the start I felt good and want to say thanks to the team who worked perfectly throughout the whole Tour. No one expected a stage like this today but we were present in the breakaway and in the end the team did a great job in putting me in the front where I wanted to be, so I was able to push as I wanted."
It was a promising start for the team, who also saw Jasper Philipsen take home the Ziptrak sprint jersey with four top five finishes across the week.
Richie Porte lost his unofficial King of Willunga crown but won his second Tour Down Under title in the punishing hill climb finish.
The Australian from team Trek Segafredo unleashed his trademark surge up the steep three-kilometre climb in a bid for a seventh win in the demanding Willunga Hill stage, but was overtaken by England's Matthew Holmes in the final stretch.
"To win the race again is a fantastic feeling," Porte said.
"It was a hard day for our team. There were times when I thought maybe the general classification was over and done with because it was a big group up the road. But credit to the guys, almost single-handedly, they brought that all back."
Updated: January 26, 2020 12:54 PM