Richie Porte has finished runner-up twice at the Critérium du Dauphiné, four years ago in 2017 and four years before that in 2013. Now, in 2021, he has a very good chance to finally seal the overall victory, but the memory of losing the 2017 race to Jakob Fuglsang still lingers in the memory.
"I've been here before on the penultimate stage in the yellow jersey, I'm under no illusions that it's going to be easy tomorrow," Porte said after finishing second on stage seven and taking the race lead.
"I mean I didn't feel that super to be honest and more thought that maybe G was going to springboard over and I'd give myself for him, but when Mas wouldn't co-operate I understood, he's done that to me before. At the end of the day it's all tactics it's going to be a big battle tomorrow and I'd love to finish it off."
Porte says the differences between now and four years ago couldn't be starker, and that tomorrow he'll have team-mates, including Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart to support him.
"It's chalk and cheese," the Tasmanian said of the comparison between riding for Ineos in 2021 and BMC in 2017. "I had really no team-mates to support me then, only Kilian Frankiny and he was a neo-pro.
"We [Ineos] have a really strong team here, it's really great to be back. I really enjoyed my last years but I do feel like I'm home here, and we have a super strong team here to win this bike race."
Porte arrived at Ineos with the expectation of playing a support role to the team's many stars in the twilight of his career but is more than happy to take this opportunity before turning his attention to going all-in for Geraint Thomas at the upcoming Tour de France.
"I guess if I turn up in form and if I have the legs and can still have the opportunity [to win]," Porte explained. "The plan this morning was if I was able to attack [then he would], which I don't get so much but I'd love to win this race and go into the Tour and it'll all be for G."
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