Having started the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in second place overall, Richie Porte looked poised for his third WorldTour podium finish of the season.However the Australian slipped to fourth with Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Etixx-Quick Step's Dan Martin moving up on the podium as Chris Froome celebrated his third win at the Tour de France dress rehearsal.
Fourth in the prologue, Porte moved into second on stage 1 before briefly dropping to third after stage 4 then jumping back into second. The BMC rider crossed the line in ninth place on the seventh and final stage in Superdévoluy with his podium place disappearing following a tangle with Froome as he explained.
"I found myself almost in the barriers and had to stop and that's when the group went and that's when my podium was lost," Porte said of the incident. "It's just one of those things. I was there all week and today I had a much better day, so it's just a shame to finish on such a bad note. But I think it will keep me hungry for July."
In WorldTour races so far in 2016, Porte started with second at the Tour Down Under, third at Paris-Nice, fourth at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya having lost his podium place on the final stage and was then a DNS at Tour de Romandie prior to the Dauphine.
"I thought I may have still finished third," said Porte who was second behind then teammate Froome at the 2013 Dauphine. "To almost crash in the last 500 meters of the whole race is a disappointing way to end a fantastic week. It's just a racing incident. Everyone's on the limit and it's just one of those things that happen."
While Porte was disappointed to slip to fourth, he can take solace in the fact that his performance is a good indicator ahead of the Tour and could see BMC back him as its chief GC rider in July. On the eve of the Dauphine, Porte told Cyclingnews he was "looking forward to going there and testing myself against some of the big Tour favourites". Having gone head-to-head with Froome and finished ahead of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), the 30-year-old meet his pre-race aim.
"Yesterday I had a bit of a bad day but I didn't lose that much," Porte said. "Today I felt great. It was a hard stage, and a hard race in general, but I bounced back really well. I'm quite happy with the form and the way things are lining up for July."
Sports director Valerio Piva echoed Porte's disappointment to have missed the podium but was pleased to see the Australian in form and support from a strong team.
"We had second place on GC heading into today and we lost it in the last sprint. From this mistake we missed out on the podium which is really unfortunate. It's a big disappointment for both Richie and the team. His performance here was very good," Piva said. "He was again at the top level today, he was there all day, jumping in the movement with Froome, Contador and Bardet. Then everything camp back and we had 20 riders or so on the final climb. We are disappointed but we are also really happy to be here with a strong leader and a team that worked really well together.
"Richie's condition is good. He didn't have the best day yesterday but recovered well to come back good today, which is a great sign for the Tour de France. He deserved to be on the podium so it's a shame that it didn't happen that way."
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