Struck by a bout of gastro prior to the Vuelta and subsequently losing over 40 minutes over the preceding five stages, the Tasmanian keenly tested his legs on Stage 6.
Porte's early attack enticed mountains classification leader Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH) and at the fifth kilometre, the trio led the bunch by just over three minutes.
There the gap hovered for most of the day until the sprinter-fuelled peloton sniffed a bunch finish, ultimately reeling the break back in just before the chaotic, final 30 kilometres.
“It’s been a fun day!" Porte said. "I’m finally starting to feel a bit like things are getting back to normal.
"It’s just nice to do something different, I hadn’t been in a breakaway for years! Otherwise I’d just be sitting in the bunch and not doing much.
"It’s also interesting ahead of the third week. I think it was a good way to test myself. The other option would have been to just sit in the bunch and not do much other than in the final when there was crosswinds and a lot of stress.”
Porte missed the front groups in the split, finishing the stage five and half minutes behind stage winner Nacer Bouhanni. But his job was done - have fun, test the legs.