Richie Porte (Team Sky) admitted that stage nine of the Tour de France to Bagneres-de-Bigorre had been the worst day he'd had on a bike all season but took losing any chance of a Tour podium place on the chin despite finishing 17:59 down on stage winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp).
Porte was on a high after his impressive performance on Saturday to Ax 3 Domaines. He could have avoided speaking to the press like so many riders often do on bad days but had the courage to get off the Team Sky bus and speak to the select group of journalists who had waited to hear his version of Team Sky's bad day in the Pyrenees.
"Yesterday was my day and today was probably the worst day I've had on the bike all season. But there's still another two weeks to the Tour, so I'm looking forward to moving on," Porte said.
"It was a bit of war today, everybody saw that it was an amazing stage. Full credit to Valverde. He attacked so early and it takes a fair set of swingers to do that."
With Vasili Kiryienka finishing outside of the time limit and Chris Froome isolated in the front group, Team Sky suddenly seemed vulnerable. However Porte confirmed that there is no specific problem in the team such as a virus.
"There's nothing going on. I think the peloton kicked our arses and that's all there is to it," he said with appreciable honesty.
Porte confirmed that he decided to ease up and give up chasing the front group on the final climb, hence his big time loss.
Before heading for the flight transfer north to Nantes, Porte insisted that he will bounce back from his bad day in the Pyrenees. He is confident that his climbing legs will return after the first rest day and the flat stages across central France next week.
"It's a recovery day tomorrow and then hopefully some sprinters stages. My climbing form is pretty good. I fought along there on my own, so I'll be fine," he said.
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