Richie Porte was within touching distance of the podium ahead of stage 20, but settled for fifth overall in wet conditions in Morzine
Porte rolled into rain-soaked Morzine cold and with bloodshot eyes that denoted a tough final day in the Alps, which he played safe to maintain fifth overall on the general classification.
The Australian had started the penultimate stage of the Tour within striking distance of the podium, which he was intent on, but couldn’t better the tempo his old teammates set on the Col de Joux Plane, nor justify taking risks on the wet and treacherous descent into the Alpine village.
“I think coming down off those descents before [the Col de Joux Plane] everybody was frozen solid. The Joux Plane is not an easy climb but the pace they set was quite hard to do anything from,” he said outside the team bus following a trip to doping control.
Porte finished stage 20 with the yellow jersey group and with tomorrow’s finale to Paris being processional for the climbers will be able to celebrate at the very least a career best performance at the race.
“A few times there I had a little bit of bad luck but I think it’s exciting for next year. Hopefully I can come back, give it another crack and see what I can do,” he said.
Porte is five minutes and 17 seconds in arrears of Froome, who just 12 months ago he was supporting to a win. A good portion of that deficit was due to an untimely mechanical in stage two where he lost almost two minutes.
“Without that he would have been very, very dangerous,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme said.
“Sometimes people say when you’re out of Team Sky you’re not as good but that’s not the case with Richie Porte.”
The all-rounder entered the Tour as a co-leader at BMC alongside Tejay van Garderen, who faded in the final week. He will now focus on his next target, the road race at the Rio Olympic Games in August.