Porte moves into 6th overall after another intense day in the mountains.
Richie Porte is heading into the Tour de France second rest day with a big boost of confidence after crossing the line in third place in Stage 15 behind stage winner and second overall Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) and race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
It was the same finish as the final stage in Tour de l’Ain in early August where Porte finished in 5th place after Jumbo-Visma thwarted his attack in the last few kilometers. Roglic went on to win that stage and the overall.
“I knew from doing Tour de l’Ain where I attacked with 2kms to go, and I didn’t really know the finish, so today my plan was always to sit in as long as I could,” explained Porte. “When it got to [600m] to go and Roglic attacked, and I had to go to the front and do my pace since I am never going to beat guys like Pogacar and Roglic on a finish like that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it was good to put time into some other GC guys.”
After Roglic’s attack, Porte countered with 350 meters remaining. Although he did not shake Pogacar and Roglic, he distanced other rivals that still sit ahead of him in the GC.
It was nice to be able to sit on the wheels of Jumbo-Visma on the final climb, and I felt pretty comfortable. Jumbo-Visma had a high pace, and it was hard to do much off that pace. When Yates attacked, they never really struggled. I think they lost George Bennett, but that was it. At the end of the day, you almost have to look at them as your teammates when they’re that strong to control.
After losing 81 seconds to many of his rivals in the crosswinds of Stage 7, Porte has battled back in the big mountain stages, moving from 20th to 6th place in the general classification. He has shown to be growing stronger as the Tour moves into a very tough third week, a good sign, while other rivals have struggled, including last year’s winner Egan Bernal and three-time podium finisher Nairo Quintana.
Trek-Segafredo took a big blow when it lost Bauke Mollema to a crash in Stage 13, but Porte has shouldered the weight and risen to the challenge of leading the team and has climbed in reach of the overall podium, sitting 39 seconds from third.
“It was a good day for the team, and I am happy with today,” added Porte. “The big guys did a great job looking after me for the first 100kms, and Mads (Pedersen) and Jasper (Stuyven) put me in a perfect position for the first climb. And then I had Kenny (Elissonde) there with me. I am motivated for the last week. Now I am looking forward to the rest day and recover a bit and hopefully have a good final week of the Tour.”