No excuses, says Richie Porte: ‘The peloton kicked our arses’

Porte said stage 9 "was a bit of a war. ... Everyone saw that. It was an amazing stage"

Photo: Graham Watson

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NANTES, France (VN) — No excuses. Richie Porte (Sky) took one on the chin Sunday, dropping from second to 33rd in a costly backward slide on GC.

Porte said he wasn’t suffering from any ailments or illness when he got dropped under early heavy pressure — he simply didn’t have great legs.

“Yesterday was my day and today was probably the worst day I have had on the bike all season,” Porte told reporters at the finish. “It was a bit of a war today. Everyone saw that. It was an amazing stage.”

Just a day after blitzing the peloton, the 28-year-old Tasmanian was the one getting blitzed. Movistar and Garmin-Sharp handed it to Team Sky on Sunday, and Porte wasn’t going to hide behind any excuses.

“There is nothing going on … just a bad day,” Porte said. “I think the peloton kicked our arses today and that’s all there is to it, to be honest.”

Despite the setback, Porte reconfirmed his laid-back, yet determined character. Under similar circumstances, other riders throw tantrums, blame others, or get angry. Not Porte.

“Full credit to [Alejandro] Valverde,” Porte said. “He attacked so early. That takes a fair set of swingers to do that.”

Porte was one of Sky’s top victims on a day when team captain Chris Froome was left isolated in what could have been even more disastrous.

Peter Kennaugh crashed and Vasili Kiryienka, who set a blistering pace up the Pailhères on Saturday, missed the time cut.

Porte lost contact over the day’s first two climbs and was caught out in a chase group with Sky teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen.

On the day’s penultimate climb, Porte found wings and dug within a minute of the Froome group. Movistar then turned the screws to eliminate him for good, and Porte gave up the chase.

“[It’s not worth it], when you blow to pieces, is there?” he said. “My climbing form is pretty good. I fought alone there by myself, and I’ll be fine.”

Porte was already trying to put Sunday’s bad ride behind him just minutes after crossing the finish line.

His podium hopes are certainly dashed, but he vows to keep riding deep to promote Froome.

“There’s still another two weeks of the Tour, so I am looking forward to moving on,” Porte said. “A recovery day, a few sprint stages, I think it will come around again.”


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