Richie Porte: 'There was no hiding today'

Richie Porte beat his old team leader Chris Froome into third place on the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has well positioned himself for a tantalising battle against former Team Sky sparring partner Chris Froome at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The Australian did not hide on Sunday’s severe uphill prologue in Les Gets, and he finished in second ahead of Froome with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) taking line honours and the first leader’s jersey.

Porte has previously ridden for both riders but with new squad BMC this season is due to take them on and have his own title shot at the Tour de France, which the Dauphiné serves as a prelude to.

The 31-year-old finished six seconds in arrears of Contador today, with Froome a further seven adrift, and was pleased with the showing on the 4km climb.

“I've flown under the radar so much this year, no one has even mentioned my name, so I think it’s good to come into this race with less pressure,” he said.

“Certainly there was no hiding today. I think it’s good for me in the big picture.”

>>> Chris Froome: ‘It feels like I’m in good shape now’

Porte has outlined a conservative game plan over the coming days and pointed to the weekend’s short and sharp feature stages that suit his strengths.

“There are no easy days here,” he said. “I think it’s nice Tinkoff have to defend. We'll save it all, as much as we can, for the weekend.

“That’s the thing, it’s a bit of a short sharp stage the last day,” he added.

“You look at the Giro and Paris-Nice, races like that where they’ve had short, sharp stages, they’re probably the hardest ones to defend as a team. It’s not a given, not a procession, that last stage so we’ll have to see what happens.”

Watch: Highlights from the Critérium du Dauphiné prologue

Porte elected to train in and around his Monaco base, over the altitude camps Froome, for example, opted for, in the lead-up to the eight-day tour.

He has outlined podium ambitions for the race and has a strong and experienced squad, including Brent Bookwalter, Marcus Burghardt, Damiano Caruso, Ben Hermans, Amael Moinard, Greg van Avermaet and Australian national time trial champion Rohan Dennis, at his disposal.

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Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, broadcaster and author of Pain & Privilege: Inside Le Tour. She follows the WorldTour circuit, working for British, Australian and US press, and has covered 10 Tours de France.