Aussie Focus

Porte strong in 'horrible' Dauphiné TT

Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers) took over the provisional lead of the 16.4-kilometre time trial at the midway point, but saw his time passed a few times before the end of proceedings.

Porte bested the mark of Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) to move into the race lead on Stage 4, but a series of well-paced rides from other saw the Tasmanian's time bettered over the tough course. The undulating route from Firminy to Roche-La-Molière saw a number of changes in the standings from the intermediate checkpoint to the finish, with fastest man to the halfway mark, Porte's teammate, Geraint Thomas, fading to finish 23 seconds down by the end. 

Porte was left to console himself with a performance that vaulted him up the overall standings to seventh overall, just 16 seconds off the race lead ahead of the first real mountain stages on the final days of the race.

"I don't really know who it was for, to be honest. It was such a hard course to get into a rhythm, but I guess my form is pretty good," Porte said just after finishing. "I'm happy with that. The course was horrible. It's such a hard time trial. I'm not confident that my time will stand as the best, but all things considered, it's not a bad ride."

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Alexey Lutsenko and Ion Izagirre (both Astana-Premier Tech) would both pass Porte's time to complete an impressive 1-2 for Astana, with Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) in third. Porte ended up sixth on the day, 15 seconds in arrears of Lutsenko.

"I don't know if I nailed it. I think I was good in the first half. But the second half I had nothing in my legs," said Porte. "It was just a case of trying to stay as aero as possible on the climbs and I guess use my power-to-weight to my advantage."

Geraint Thomas was expected to establish a bit of a buffer on the general classification after the stage but faded after being fastest at the intermediate checkpoint to finish 23 seconds behind Lutsenko on the day. Porte now sits higher than the presumptive INEOS Grenadiers leader but brushed off any speculation that he would assuming the mantle of race leader despite his impressive form this season.

"Geraint's the leader," said Porte. "I think he's happy for me to be up there. But, looking at the weekend, it's going to be all hands on deck I think and Geraint's the one with the runs on the board."

The Critérium du Dauphiné continues with Stage 5, a hilly 175-kilometres stage from Saint-Chamond to Saint-Vallier that will offer opportunities for the attackers. Watch the racing action from 10.20pm on SBS VICELAND and SBS OnDemand.


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3 min read
Published 3 June 2021 at 9:26am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS