“I’m happy with how that went,” Porte said after warming down on his turbo trainer. “It’s not really my bread and butter, that short sharp stuff, but I’m happy enough with how it was and it puts me in quite a good position.”
The stage ended with a bang, with two tough category two climbs up to around 900 metres and a short and punchy 1.8-kilometre climb to La Mauselaine.
Tinkoff-Saxo drove the group over the climbs for Alberto Contador and shelled several classification riders that sat between Porte and overall leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Tour hopefuls Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) faded, losing a 1-20 and 1-39 minutes, respectively. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) crashed for a second consecutive day and lost 2-20.
Blel Kadri (Ag2r La Mondiale) won the stage solo from an escape. Contador attacked on the final climb, freed himself of Nibali by three seconds and placed second. Porte was the only rider who could remain close, closing seven seconds behind Contador and four behind Nibali. He now sits third at 2-20 behind Nibali.
“[Tinkoff] are riding sort of like Sky usually do. They were good today, but I guess it’s a little bit hard for Astana. They have had the yellow jersey for almost a week now,” Porte continued.
“I’m not particularly surprised by today, that’s how most races have ended up this year,” explained Porte. “Certainly for me, it’s nice to have my opportunities and I’m happy with how I was today and where I finished.”
Tomorrow’s stage to Mulhouse covers six categorised climbs but ends on flat roads. Followers might have to wait for the next big shake up in Monday’s stage to La Planche de Belles Filles. That stage counts six categorised climbs and then the final 5.9-kilometre run to the line.
“I’m a little bit behind those guys on that [steep] stuff,” added Porte, “but maybe in the longer climbs I’m going to be a little bit better.”