The Australian made the most decisive move out of any of the GC contenders on the Tour de France summit finish on stage 17
BMC Racing’s Richie Porte – one year after helping Chris Froome win the Tour de France – reached a different confidence level today with the most significant attack on the Finhaut Emosson summit finish in Switzerland.
Porte blew apart the classification group with top riders Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) drifting behind. Only yellow jersey Froome could bridge to him with Brit Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) the next best.
With his move on the steep and hot finish to 1960 metres, the Australian moved from seventh to sixth overall at 4-27 behind Froome and within reach of third place and, as the team says, the overall win. Porte, warming down on the Emosson Lake dam, said that the podium is his goal.
“It was a good day for me, I really want to be on the podium,” Porte said with his back to the lake.
Watch: Tour de France 2016 stage 17 highlights
“It’s different for me in BMC, it’s a bit different to the role I had before, riding for myself. I’m enjoying it. The team has put some confidence in me.
“I spoke with the sports director this morning, he said, ‘just use your head. If you feel like it, attack.’ I have to anyhow. The tempo was not so fast there. It was a good time to get a gap like that. They chased hard, I suppose, so it’s a good sign.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) tried to place teammate Quintana in position. Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) attacked. Porte, however, made his stick at one kilometre to go. It was most powerful move of the 10.4km summit finish.
“I thought Quintana was the one to go, so I sat on his wheel,” added Porte. “I wasn’t aware of what was going on behind. It was a good attack, and Froome was the only one who came with me. It’s a good day for me.”
“Tomorrow’s the uphill time trial, and I quite like them. It’s a crucial one. I know I need to have a good time trial and try to take some more time.
“I showed today that I’m climbing well. I take confidence out of today.”