Richie Porte has been left with an early setback to his hopes of an overall win at the Tour de France, following a stage two team time trial performance that his Trek-Segafredo sports director described as ‘annoying’.
The Australian lost 1-18 to stage winners Jumbo-Visma and 58 seconds to Team Ineos after Trek-Segafredo could only muster an 18th place finish.
The 34-year-old remains optimistic however with the Tour only on its second stage, with five summit finishes to come in the next three weeks. Porte will potentially aim to start making back time on the race’s first summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles on Thursday. He has not been in outstanding form this year however, coming into the Tour with just one win under his belt at the Tour Down Under in January.
Porte said following the team time trial that he thought his team did the best they could with what they had, with Dutchman Koen de Kort not 100 per cent after crashing on stage one.
“It’s not ideal but we did a good team time trial there,” Porte said immediately after the team’s effort. “Obviously we lost Koen [de Kort] quite early, maybe after the crash yesterday. I think we did a really nice ride and there’s still a long way to go.
“We’ve done the recon and the Pyrenees are always hard but the Alps this year, the last three stages are brutal. The last week is definitely where the race is going to be decided, [but] it’s never nice to lose time like that.
“We did a really good ride with what we’ve got,” he later added. “Obviously we’d like to be around the mark a little bit more… it’s not ideal.
“[Team time trialling is] not really my thing; 58kg trying to hold the wheel of those bigger fellas, but I’m not throwing the toys out of the cot just yet, it’s a long way to go and the climbing stages are coming up.”
Trek-Segafredo sports director Steven De Jongh sounded less positive though, saying the start to the Tour had been “annoying” after De Kort’s crash and stomach issues for Toms Skujiņš left the team weakened for the crucial TTT.
“We were not fast enough,” De Jongh said.
“Koen had a difficult day after the crash yesterday. Toms has been fighting stomach problems and also didn’t have a super day, and then you already miss two elements. They did a good start but couldn’t hold the pace.
“It’s a bit annoying to start out like this, but the Tour is long and there will be days where we can get some time back. We calculated we would lose some time today, but not so much, and that’s a disappointment.”