Geraint Thomas admits his pacing was too aggressive on the Critérium du Dauphiné's stage four time trial, as he set the fastest time through the intermediate check before losing half a minute over the final eight kilometres.
"My pacing was a bit too aggressive really for what I had today. I just felt like I was legless even going through the time check I was like 'ah crap, I've overdone this'. It was then just survival really, trying to hang on," Thomas said after the stage.
The Ineos rider was eighth heading into the race against the clock, and remains in that position on GC after finishing on the same time as race leader Lukas Pöstlberger, just scraping inside the top 10 on the stage, 23 seconds in arrears to stage winner Alexey Lutsenko (Astana).
"It's not the type of course where you want to be hanging on for the last seven or eight km. You need to be strong there, it needs to be in reverse."
Stage five is a lumpy day out before three increasingly difficult days in the mountains where the race will be decided.
"Richie's still up there..." Thomas continued, before catching himself. "Well, I'm there or thereabouts, still all to play for."
Porte was eight seconds faster than Thomas on the stage and leapfrogs his team-mate into seventh, 16 seconds down in the overall.
"It was horrible, it's such a hard time trial," Porte told CyclingProNet. "All things considered it's not a bad ride. I'm happy with that. It's such a hard course to get into a rhythm but I guess the form is pretty good."
At a time before Thomas had finished his ride and Porte's was the fastest effort so far, Porte was asked whether he would assume leadership of the team this race if he found himself in yellow.
"I don't really know, I mean Geraint is the leader for the Tour, I think he's happy for me to be up there here but looking at the weekend it's going to be all hands on deck and Geraint is the one with the runs on the board. We'll see how it goes."
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1