Richie Porte is just 21 seconds off the Volta a Catalunya lead after finishing second to Tejay van Garderen on the 4th stage but the Australian remained unsatisfied.
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7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

The 188.4km stage with its summit finish at La Molina was a perfect staging ground for a battle of the four big threats to win the May 9-23 Giro d'Italia.

Richie Porte (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) and Fabio Aru (Astana) all remain within 13 seconds of each other with three stages left to contest.

"We took it on over the Creueta and to still have four guys over the top with me speaks volumes of the commitment from the boys," said Porte.

"When Alberto attacked on the final climb we had Kiry (Vasil Kiryienka) up the road. He got a bit of a gap initially but I never panicked. I was expecting he'd attack and I was happy to ride back to Kiry, who then rode as Kiry does, like a steamroller. I was coming back at Tejay but just came up a little short.

"Today was a big boost in my morale heading into the Giro. Most of the favourites for that race are here and to distance them was great. I feel a bit like I'm flying under the radar at the moment without the attention of guys like Rigo and Alberto. But I'm really feeling ready to take my opportunity. I'm looking forward to May."

Looking ahead to the race finish in Barcelona, and with no time trial to pull back time, Porte said he and Sky would chip away at the overall lead of Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) in the remaining road stages.

I'll take it as it comes. We can look at Bart De Clercq and trying to take some seconds off him, Porte said. "But then it's really tight behind with bonus seconds left on the road.

"But I think we've got guys who can help out if we need to. We saw Wout (Poels) and Nico (Roche) clean up a few on the first stage. We'll see, but it's my goal to be as high on GC as possible."