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Richie Porte (Team Sky)
Team Sky rider suggests Astana could weaken as they defend race lead
Despite a fall on the Tour de France stage from York to Leeds Richie Porte believes that he and his Sky teammates have made it through the opening stages of this year’s race relatively unscathed. Team leader and defending champion Chris Froome sits comfortably inside the top ten, while the team as a whole have worked to keep Froome out of trouble and harm's way.
“It was nice to get through the UK stages without any really big incidents. I was happy not to lose times,” Porte said at the end of stage 3 in London as he warmed down on the rollers.
Stage four sees the Tour return to more familiar surroundings with a stage from Calais to Lille. Stage five, however, will put the peloton under serious strain with nine sectors of cobbles from Paris-Roubaix included. Porte acknowledged that he would be glad to get to the mountains.
“It almost feels like they’re going to be straightforward after the first few stages and then the cobbles. We’re sitting in a good position at the moment."
Porte fell mid-way through stage two. He picked up a few cuts and bruises but was lucky to escape relatively unharmed. The fall saw Team Sky send several teammates back to help the Australian, before he finally made contact on the final set of climbs before the finish.
“It was just one of things and I was taken out from the side. I ended up taking out Nicolas Roche and breaking his new Specialized Tarmac. So there are only 249 of them left in the world. The arm is fine though, I’m not feeling anything bad with it but I was lucky.”
“We’re happy with how it’s gone so far but once we get through stage 5 and then into more familiar terrain in the mountains, we’re going to be a lot happier.”
Froome sits just two seconds down on race leader and one of his principal rivals for the yellow jersey, Vincenzo Nibali.
“I think we’ve done less work than some of the other teams. Astana taking the yellow is fantastic for them but it’s also a three-week race so hopefully that takes a little bit out of them.”