RICHIE Porte hopes his breakthrough win in the prestigious Paris-Nice cycle race could open doors for him to take a leading role into the sport's grand tours.
The Hadspen 28-year-old confirmed victory with his second-stage win of the event just along the Mediterranean coast from his European base in Monaco.
Leading by 32 seconds going into the last stage, Porte demolished a top-quality field by 21 seconds.
The overall victory was the first by an Australian in the historic "race to the sun" and the biggest by a Tasmanian since Matthew Goss won Milan-San Remo in 2011.
"I just never thought or believed that I could win Paris-Nice," Porte said.
"For me personally I've never had a nice experience at this race so it's a massive monkey off the back to come here and win it.
"I can't believe it. The first Aussie to win such a big race and it's just an honour to have my name up there with Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and all the big champions.
"I woke up this morning and I knew that I had good legs. After the armchair ride that I got from the team yesterday - as well as on stage 5 and for the entire week - I knew I'd be in good shape."
Porte's time of 19:16 for the 9.6-kilometre time trial from Nice to Col d'Eze - a ride he said he often does "three or four times a day" - was just four seconds slower than the record set by Sky teammate Wiggins last year.
It inevitably raised questions of the former Giro d'Italia leader's leadership role in the star-studded outfit headlined by last year's Tour de France winner and runner-up Wiggins and Chris Froome.
Porte supported Wiggins to a succession of stage race wins last year, including Paris-Nice, also helping Froome claim the Tour of Oman last month. He was swift to pledge his continued loyalty, but said he harboured personal ambitions for the grand tours of France, Italy and Spain.
"My goal is to go to the Tour [de France] and support Chris and Brad. Do that and maybe next year I could potentially lead Team Sky at the Giro [d'Italia].
"I'm still doing my apprenticeship and I'm still learning off Bradley and Chris. I don't expect to go to the Tour and ride for general classification.
"I'm in a good place at the moment and I don't want to change anything."