Richie Porte's Tour de France got off to a rocky start when he lost time on stage 2 due to an untimely puncture. Since then, he has been clawing his way back up the overall classification and a strong performance on the final stage before the rest day in Andorra sends him into the second week on a positive note.
"You have to take a fair bit of confidence from that because you are sticking with the top guys up there in GC [general classification]. I know where I'm at, I've been thereabouts all year. My form is good now and the only thing that I can do now it is to try and chip away," Porte told the media during a press conference in the Andorran capital of Andorra la Vella.
"Physically, I feel great. I think yesterday I showed that I could stay with the best. Obviously, the disaster I had last Sunday is a hard thing to take but the harder days are in front of us. Hopefully, I can make more time back and hit that podium in Paris."
Porte is currently sitting in 14th place overall at 2:10 behind the race leader, and former teammate, Chris Froome. He is also almost a minute behind his fellow team leader Tejay van Garderen. After showing an aggressive side in Andorra, Porte knows that he needs to continue in that vein if he wants to come close to making that podium placing.
"It's crucial. This next week we've got Mont Ventoux and a time trial. It really is the business end of the Tour," said Porte. "Hopefully, they're watching each other and maybe I can go away. There are also two time trials, so I need to have two good time trials and claw some time back there."
There are many teams that Porte will have to take on in the coming two weeks, but talk of his former team is never too far away. Few of the overall contenders know how they work as well as the Australian. Porte spent many years working for Team Sky, and helped Froome to his two Tour de France titles. Porte says that the team's approach is significantly different to the one they used at previous Tours de France.
"It's not the normal tactics from Team Sky where they do the normal Sky pull, and the whole train goes up the mountain. Yesterday, they were attacking with Sergio Henao and Chris Froome was attacking himself in the jersey," said Porte. "We've just got to see, the race is only going to get harder from now, and Movistar is also such a strong team. There's Tejay and myself up there on GC as well. This race is so unpredictable; it doesn't really bare thinking about.
"This race throws up so many things that anyone can have bad luck on any given day."
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