Australian Richie Porte looks ahead to the Tour de France's final week in the Alps as he eyes a final podium spot in Paris
The 31-year-old sits seventh overall and appears quietly sure he can move up on the general classification over the next three mountain stages and time trial he has reconnoitred.
“Certainly I’m in good condition and it is a hard four-day block coming up after the rest day,” Porte said yesterday. “I think I’ve got everything to play for now. I’m not too far off podium and it’s a big goal so bring it on.
“The Joux Plane, everyone knows that, the last stage, the last climb of the Tour, it’s a solid one but so are the others. The uphill time trial, I’m quite looking forward to that.”
Misfortune has again plagued Porte in his first showing as an outright leader at the Tour with new team BMC. It has largely contributed to a four minute and 27 second deficit to yellow jersey Chris Froome but, in a stronger mental display from the Australian, not been the catalyst to a thrown away campaign.
In fact, Porte has shown little weakness to his former team he left just last season and has been around Froome and the Briton’s band of mountain goats and diesel engines consistently.
“Hopefully that’s it and it’s all good luck now,” he said.
Sky workhorse Geraint Thomas has intimated his outfit has a mental and a physical edge over the competition before the mountainous slog to Paris. The Welshman didn’t go so far to say the race was already won but in a frank assessment of the top 10 suggested the majority were competing for the podium, not the yellow jersey any more.
“… It’s only really [Nairo] Quintana and [Movistar teammate Alejandro] Valverde that might risk having a go. You know, [Romain] Bardet is still close to the podium, would he risk everything to get on it and maybe drop out of the top 10 with a big attack? It’s a tough one,” Thomas said.
Showings in the second phase of the race were conducive to the sentiment with few of Froome’s title rivals making any concerted attack, placing more emphasis on tactics in the third phase of the race that commences with stage 17 from Bern tomorrow.
“I don’t know about attack, attack, attack,” Porte said. “Sky are super strong. We’ve seen it time and again. I think Froomey wants to win another stage so that means it’s going to be hard and the harder it is the better it is for me.
“There is no shame in podium in the Tour de France either.”