Richie Porte’s Giro d’Italia blog: It’s better to be dishing it out than to be taking it

From what I’ve seen Yates, Bardet, Landa, and Carapaz are all going well. They all like to be aggressive, so stage 9 could be really explosive.

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Another day, another massage. This time we’re on the outskirts of Naples after what was a really demanding stage 7 at the Giro d’Italia.

It was so fast from the start this morning but the team did a good job of sticking together and protecting Carapaz and in the end we have to be happy with that.

The downside was Castro’s crash. He hit the deck near the first descent of the day and although he battled through, we’ll just have to watch how things are with him over the next day or so. He’s like a bloody Toyota Hilux pickup truck though, bloody indestructible, and an amazing teammate to boot. I hope he comes through, though, but if not, then we might need to tweak a few things within the team because going down to seven riders can mean that duties and tasks have to be shared out.

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The team has been great though. Everyone is watching for the climbs but our guys like Narváez, Puccio, and Ben Swift are doing an amazing job. They have a bit of a thankless task in a way but their work in the earlier phases is a huge help towards the end of each stage. They set the rest of us up so well for the climbs and keep us fresh, and you can’t thank them enough.

Generally speaking though, even if you’re flying you can feel the fact that you’ve got a week of racing in your legs. Obviously, stage 6 was pretty easy. It was like watching the grass grow and if you think it’s boring at home, it means it’s boring for us too. You can tell that there’s a bit more tension in the bunch, and tensions are a bit frayed because we’ve been on the limit. But that happens at this point in the race.

I felt good though, and today Pavel, Ben – they looked great. Richard has been riding really well, and he was flying. After each stage, he came onto the bus and gave us all a pat on the back, and although that’s a relatively small gesture it actually went a long way after you’ve been in the saddle for five or six hours. You can tell that he appreciated our efforts, and we really want to get behind him in the race this year.

I’ve seen a few bits and pieces here and there about us riding like the old Team Sky train. To be fair: we’ve been tactical with our approach and put on a bit of pressure added up for our rivals. That’s why we’ve done it. We’ve been trying to just put a bit of fatigue into the bunch at times, and to be honest, if we didn’t do that, then someone else and their team would. Sometimes it’s better to be dishing it out instead of taking it.

We’ve got a technical day tomorrow and I’ve heard that the road surface won’t be too bad. Then it’s a key day to Blockhaus on stage 9, before we hit the second rest day. We’re ticking off the days now.

Blockhaus is going to be a super important day. From what I’ve seen Yates, Bardet, Landa, and Carapaz are all going well. They all like to be aggressive, so it could be a really explosive stage. It will be hard before we even get to that climb though, so it might be a bit of a death march for those final kilometers.

My job will be to support Carapaz, and I’m really excited about that. I’m enjoying riding for him because he just appreciates it so much. Tonight though, it’s a massage, a call home to the family, and then time for rest.

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