Porte was full of praise for the UAE Team Emirates rider, who leads the general classification by 5’18” ahead of Stage 16, with Richard Carapaz Ineos’ best-placed rider in fourth.
Carapaz had viewed the recent road to Andorra as his best chance to close the gap on the defending champion, but was unable to do so at altitude, instead finishing alongside the Slovenian.
Nevertheless, Porte believes upcoming uphill stages will help improve his teammate’s position, confirming it was the team’s goal to get the Ecuadorian on the podium.
“We’ve got two stages on Wednesday and Thursday that finish uphill, so we’ll look to exploit that,” Porte told Cyclingnews.
“We still think it’s possible to put him on the podium. That’s the goal.
“When you’ve got a guy, who is five minutes up and he’s shown time and time again that he’s at a level above everyone else, then it’s probably just better to aim for the podium.
“He’s not getting caught up in the moment and he’s doing a great job.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we have to put him and guys like Jonas Vingegaard under pressure.
“We tried that on Stage 15, but it was to no avail really.”
Porte himself made the podium behind Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Pogačar last year, and the fact the latter has returned to the top despite difficult circumstances is further proof of his mettle in 2021.
“When you look at him, and they say he doesn’t like the heat, you have to give him full credit because he’s all class,” Porte said of Pogačar.
“Last year he won under different circumstances, but here, you have to tip your hat to him because he has dealt with the pressure.
“If Carapaz is good enough to take some time out some of the guys, then so be it.
“We’ve got some hard stages coming up and a time trial, and if someone gets sick, we can look to exploit them that way too.
“(But) at the moment, the top five are pretty rock solid.”
The Tour de France continues with Stage 16 on Tuesday, LIVE from 8:30pm (AEST) on SBS and SBS On Demand, with the SKODA Tour Tracker app commencing at 8:55pm (AEST).