Richie Porte (BMC Racing), who lost the Critérium du Dauphiné overall lead on the final stage on Sunday, indicates payback may come in the Tour de France for the way Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) raced.
The other favourites isolated Porte on the penultimate climb and took turns attacking. Froome accelerated away from his former Team Sky helper just before the summit and went solo on the descent from the Col de la Colombière.
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“It was me against everyone for a little bit,” Porte said.
“Valverde and Froome obviously didn’t want to see me win the race. That’s racing, but you don’t forget that for July.”
The 32-year-old Tasmanian held his ground and chased back to his rivals one by one, but was unable to regain enough time to prevent Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) winning the stage and the race overall.
Porte complemented Fuglsang’s “brilliant” ride. He had won stage six and sat third overall, only 1-15 behind Porte at the start of Sunday’s final stage.
Watch: Critérium du Dauphiné stage eight highlights
Froome sat 1-02 behind in second place overall and Spaniard Valverde was fifth at 1-43. They slipped to fourth and ninth, respectively.
Fuglsang won the overall by 10 seconds over Porte and 1-32 over Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors).
“I’ve been in those situations myself a lot of times,” Froome said of Porte. “That’s when the weight of having the yellow jersey really falls on your shoulders. You feel as if the whole world is out to get you. That’s part of racing.”
Porte switched to BMC Racing in 2016 and last year led the team to fifth overall in the Tour. This year, he appears to be on another level winning the Tour Down Under and the Tour de Romandie, and dominating the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Porte won the time trial and appeared in control of the Dauphiné’s yellow jersey until Sunday. Despite finishing second to Fuglsang, the Australian now appears to be the favourite for the upcoming Tour de France.
“Obviously you could see they were ganging up on me. It would’ve been handy to have a few more team-mates there,” Porte added.
“They attacked the absolute hell out of us from the start. I found myself in a position with no team-mates. There were guys who preferred me not win the race instead of going for it themselves.
“I don’t know what you can learn from that. I think it swings and roundabouts. Maybe I have a favour to repay come July.”