• Richie Porte at the Tour of California (Getty)Source: Getty
Richie Porte is taking confidence from his showing at the Tour of California as he continues to find form following a disruptive early season.
Sophie Smith

17 May 2019 - 2:26 PM 

Porte (Trek-Segafredo) finished stage five that was ravaged by wild coastal winds unscathed and in the front group, which contained winner Ivan Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) and main title favourites today.

The Australian appears relaxed and has been consistent throughout the mountainous tour where he will be able to flex some muscle on tomorrow’s penultimate stage to Mt Baldy.

Cortina triumphs after late action in California
Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain Merida) took his first professional win, taking out the final sprint in Stage 5 of the Tour of California after a frantic finish saw a number of late attacks.

It has been a welcome change of pace for Porte, who has struggled to return to top form following a bout of bronchitis that precipitated key changes to his race program.

“I had quite a bit of time without racing so it’s nice to be back into the groove of it, you know, long days. It hasn’t been an easy race so far but day-by-day,” said Porte.

The 34-year-old was around the mark on his first test to South Lake Tahoe on the second stage, finishing 15th and 31 seconds in arrears of Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and current race leader Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First).

“It was horrible being at 2600m. It’s never easy and it was a tough day,” he said.  

Stage six tomorrow represents another challenge that should decide the general classification. The 127.5km race from Ontario features two category one climbs before the 8.2km summit finish at Mt Baldy that has an average gradient of 8.4 per cent.

“I think tomorrow Baldy I don’t know the climb well, but I’ll go and watch the past times up the climb,” he said. “Hopefully, I’m not going to say I’m in the form to win but I hope I can have a good test there.”

Porte currently sits 13th overall – 37 seconds in arrears of van Garderen and one place ahead of compatriot and teammate turned rival Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida).