Richie Porte has surged into podium contention at the Tour de France.
Richie Porte has surged into podium contention at the Tour de France.

Porte fires up to start reeling in Tour de France big guns

RIDHIE Porte has hit back at the Tour de France.

The Aussie vaulted back into podium calculations with a stunning individual time trial, finishing fifth in sweltering conditions in Pau.

Porte screamed around the 27.2km course in 35min 45seconds, with only surprise stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (35min), Geraint Thomas (35min 14sec), Thomas De Gendt (35min36sec) and Rigoberto Uran (35min36sec) faster.

It was a performance that elevated Porte to 15th overall, with only 1min 52seconds now separating fifth from 15th.

"It was a hot one, but I felt good," Porte said at the finish.

It was a performance that elevated Porte to 15th overall, with only 1min 52seconds now separating fifth from 15th.

"Obviously having a crash a couple of days ago knocked me about a bit, but I'm happy with the time."

 

"I think the climbing part (of the course) was good for me, but the last bit of flat I really suffered."

But by the time the yellow jersey of Alaphilippe crossed the line, Porte's day had been a raging success.

He put time into a glut of rivals, including Romain Bardet (1min 41sec), Adam Yates (1min 23sec), Daniel Martin (1min 21sec), Nairo Quintana (1min 6sec), Mikel Landa (1min), Egan Bernal (51sec) and Jakob Fuglsang (+22sec) as the general classification tightened up.

"There was no tactics. I had a good chat with Mick Rogers (triple time trial world champion) last night and he just said to keep it simple and that's what we did," Porte said.

"The team is good, they're behind me and there's no stress. Obviously it's not been ideal in two stages, but the rest of the first 10 days have been really good.

"The next couple of days will be a good test."

Alaphilippe continues to defy the odds, beating stage favourite Thomas by 14 seconds.

"I just gave everything, especially in the first part was really good for me. I went full gas and I see what I can go to the line," Alaphilippe said.

Julian Alaphilippe took the time trial and extended his overall lead.
Julian Alaphilippe took the time trial and extended his overall lead.

"I'm just so happy."

Defending champ Thomas admitted he was surprised by the Frenchman's ability to stand firm in yellow.

"The way he's riding, if he can keep that up he'll win," Thomas said.

"But there's a long way to go. There's a lot of hard stages to come."

Belgian Wout van Aert wasn't so lucky, abandoning the race after crashing into a barrier on a bend at high speed and suffering a gash to his thigh.

Geraint Thomas finished 14 seconds behind Alaphilippe.
Geraint Thomas finished 14 seconds behind Alaphilippe.

"It's really disappointing. He's been a really big part of this team the past two weeks," teammate George Bennett said.

"We're all thinking of him."

It also emerged that Canadian Michael Woods is soldiering on with two broken ribs after coming down in a crash during Stage 11, which was won by Australia's Caleb Ewan.

"I managed to get my foot down, but unfortunately someone hit me from behind, I fell down and it seemed like an innocuous fall," Woods said.

"I tried rolling but when I rolled I landed on my radio and I ended up fracturing two ribs.

"The breaks aren't bad. They're both cracked, both stable, nothing displaced, and I've got the go ahead to keep racing, it's just going to be uncomfortable."

News Corp Australia


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