Tour de France: Richie Porte keen to survive rolling stages and reach high mountains
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 17/07/14 11:57am
Team Sky leader Richie Porte has admitted he is looking forward to getting to the high mountains this weekend after surviving a late scare on a rolling 11th stage of the Tour de France.
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Porte found himself cut adrift from his rivals for overall victory on the descent from the final climb of Wednesday’s stage and although he was able to regain contact and avoid losing time, it made for a stressful finale.
Thursday’s 185.5km 12th stage from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne follows a similar profile, with four small climbs - including two inside the last 50km - carrying further potential for gaps between the race favourites.
Porte, who lies second in the general classification, 2min 23sec behind race lead Vincenzo Nibali, is keen to get through it unscathed and reach Friday and Saturday's mountainous days in the Alps with his podium position intact.
“The thing with these stages is, it’s always dangerous,” he said. “There was a bit of a gap there in the descent and I got stuck chasing it, but Geraint Thomas was really good there. He came back and pulled it back together.
“The gaps happened in front of me and I had to chase, but it’s good to get that one done and hopefully I can get through tomorrow nice and quick, and then on to the Alps on Friday.
“We are ticking it off day by day. We just want to get through these stages as best we can and then look forward to the mountains.”
It was the first day this Tour where we really experienced heat as well. That definitely added to the stress.
Thomas was also relieved to maintain Porte’s position on an 11th stage that he had expected to be far less fraught.
The route appeared suited to a breakaway winner, but with several teams in the peloton keen on a stage victory, the anticipated quiet day in the main bunch did not materialise.
“We thought it would be a day for the breakaway and see 10 or 15 guys go up the road and then the bunch roll in about five or six minutes down, but it turned into a really hard day,” the Welshman said.
“We were racing hard over the last 50km. Garmin-Sharp really put the hammer down on that first climb, and it was the first day this Tour where we really experienced heat as well. That definitely added to the stress, but we are all in the same boat.
“We are happy that we are the same as this morning and it will be the same again tomorrow hopefully.”