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Matthew Goss, 23, Launceston
Richie Porte, 25, Hadspen
Karl Menzies, 32, Ulverstone
.....from the Mercury newspaper.........
May 18, 2010 09:45am
TASMANIAN Matthew Goss won a sprint finish to the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia today.
It was the third Aussie stage win of the race.
Kazakh veteran Alexandre Vinokourov retained the overall lead, 1 minute 12 seconds clear of Australia's road race world champion, Cadel Evans.
Goss, 23, beat home Italian champion Filippo Pozzato while American Tyler Farrar was third in a sprint finish that was unusually contested also by Evans and Vinokourov.
Russian rider Mikhail Ignatiev and Canada's Michael Barry tried to make a clean break 10km from the finish along the 187km ride from Frosinone to Cava de Tirreni before being swept up five kilometres later.
The peloton, while pursuing the duo, had been briefly cut in two as Vinokourov's Astana team upped the pace, forcing Evans and another rival for the overall crown, Italian Ivan Basso, to chase them down.
Goss's stage swin comes after successes by Australia's Matthew Lloyd in the sixth stage and Evans in the seventh.
Another Australian, Tasmanian Richie Porte, is sitting sixth overall but Australian sprinter Baden Cooke has pulled out of the race because of tendinitis in his knee.
Tonight's 10th stage takes the race to its southernmost point, with the 230km ride from Avellino to Bitonto.
May 18, 2010 12:01am
TASMANIA might have just unearthed the next Cadel Evans in the form of Richie Porte.
Andrew Christie-Johnston, the man who found Porte, 25, in low grade club cycling, and the TIS head cycling coach Matthew Gilmore both believe Porte has the potential to match it with the world's best.
Going into last night's ninth stage of the prestigious Giro d'Italia - arguably the second biggest grand tour behind the Tour de France - Porte was sixth overall after being as high as second.
He is also the holder of the white jersey as the leading cyclist under-26 in his first major tour event.
Christie-Johnston spotted Porte in the lowly club ranks, got him onboard his then Pratties Cycling Team that saw Porte win the Tour of Tasmania in just his second attempt and propel him onto Europe.
"As far as the ability to do it, I think he has got as much potential to go as far as Cadel," Christie-Johnston said.
"He already time trials close to Cadel, the difference is he doesn't quite climb with Cadel but that is because he hasn't had the years on the bike. You can't rush that, it is just something that happens.
"He has already proven in the time trials he can match the world's best and for someone who weighs only 60kg, that's very impressive.
"Most of the guys that can beat him for the Giro at the moment have ridden six to 10 grand tours and this is his first. He probably needs another two to three years minimum just to get those miles in his legs, but most definitely as far as riders in his age category in Australia, there is no one close to being a grand tour winner so I think he can do it for sure."
Gilmore has worked with Porte during the past 12 months when he has returned home to Hadspen.
The Olympic silver medallist said Porte was already in Evans' league.
"What he's proving this week is he is a general classification contender and they are few and far between - someone who can time trial and go up a hill," Gilmore said.
"I would think Richie will push it as far as he can to explore new horizons through this tour. The coming years will be very interesting.
"He is up there now, he's only a minute off [second-placed] Cadel now."
Porte has been picked up by Saxon Bank, arguably the world's strongest team which boasts the likes of Luxembourg riders Andy and Frank Schlek, Australian Stuart O'Grady and German Jens Voight.
Despite being his first event, Porte is Saxon's No. 1 rider for the Giro.
Christie-Johnston said with still 12 stages to go, holding onto a top 10 finish would be a tough ask, but winning the white jersey was a distinct possibility and a huge achievement given some of the previous winner's include Andy Schlek and Italian Roberto Conti.
"Past white jersey holders in either the Giro or the Tour de France have gone on to be the best bike riders in the world and have gone onto win the Giro and the Tour de France," he said.
"It shows you have got a pretty big career ahead of yourself."
Porte originally held a TIS triathlon scholarship before switching to cycling.
After each stage he rings his mentor Christie-Johnston to discuss the day's events.
"There are a lot of late nights as it is usually about 3.30am," Christie-Johnston said.
"He is, he is absolutely rapped. It is a big step for a young kid to go into a three week race like this but the emotion of it and getting that white jersey, he is just on cloud nine at the moment."
Given it his first year on the professional tour, Christie-Johnston said it was highly unlikely Porte would back up in the Tour de France this year.
Porte is not the only Tasmanian excelling in the Giro. Matthew Goss, 23, finished runner-up on stage two, and former Olympic rower Cameron Wurf is also competing in his first Giro.
Danish rider Chris Sorensen won the first uphill finish of the Giro d'Italia yesterday, and Alexandre Vinokourov maintained the overall leader's pink jersey from Aussie Cadel Evans.
Taking advantage of an early breakaway, Sorensen clocked 4hrs50mins48sec in the eighth stage, a 189km leg from Chianciano Terme to Terminillo, which included a 16km climb to the Terminillo ski resort.
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