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Porte: Yates won the battle but I won the Romandie war

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Richie Porte cutting a focused figure

Richie Porte cutting a focused figure (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Richie Porte on the final Tour de Romandie podium

Richie Porte on the final Tour de Romandie podium (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Simon Yates wins stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie

Simon Yates wins stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Richie Porte and Simon Yates on the attack

Richie Porte and Simon Yates on the attack (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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Richie Porte (BMC)

Richie Porte (BMC) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) overturned Simon Yates' 19-second lead in the final time trial at the Tour de Romandie to seal his first overall title in the Swiss race.

Porte covered the 18.3km course eight seconds slower that stage winner Primož Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo), but with Yates (Orica-Scott) finishing 40 seconds down on the BMC rider it was more than enough for Porte to take his second WorldTour stage race of 2017. With the Tour de France just over two months away, Porte's win was a shot across the bows for his Grand Tour rivals.

Porte's Romandie challenge began with a mediocre result in the prologue. With heavy rain and slick roads covering the 4.8km course he took a cautious approach and lost valuable time, but on the Queen stage to Leysin he proved himself to be the best climber in the race. While Yates won the two-up sprint between the pair, the manner in which Porte cut across a 45-second gap to the Orica rider before driving the pace defined his week.

"It's a massive shock, to be honest. I didn't think that I'd be able to claw that much time back after the prologue," Porte said in his post-race press conference.

"I tip my hat to my teammates firstly for all the work they did, but also Yates. He's a super talent. He rolled me yesterday in the stage so it was sweet to get the victory. He won the battle but I won the war a little bit there. It's nice to keep the momentum rolling for July," he added.

Romandie is of course just one race, but Porte's growing momentum is clear. He was the only GC rider capable of attacking on the final climb during stage 4, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) and another batch of Tour hopefuls were dropped.

Sterner tests, such as the Criterium du Dauphine, lay ahead but Porte acknowledged that he is currently in a good place. Last year, in his first season at BMC Racing, everything was new and months were spent just fighting for leadership ahead of the Tour. This time around, Porte is settled and has built a team around him that is capable of giving Sky a genuine battle come July.

"To finish it off today in the time trial and in the way that I did, it does give me confidence moving forward to July," he said.

When asked if he would be Chris Froome's closest challenger come July, Porte attempted to spread the pressure between a number of rivals but if performances like the one in Romandie continue, then the questions will only be repeated.

"Why not? Contador has been fantastic all season and you never know what's going to happen there. I think that Sky obviously didn't come here with the strongest team on paper, and I think that showed because if Sky aren't going to control the race then it's just mayhem," Porte said.

"The last 60km of stage 4 were attacks everywhere. Come July you've got to respect Sky in the way that they put teams together. Chris will be ready come July and I don't think you've seen the real Chris yet."

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Daniel Benson is the Managing Editor at Cyclingnews. Based in the UK, he coordinates the global coverage for the website. Having joined Cyclingnews in April 2008, he has covered several Tour de France, the Spring Classics, and the London Olympic Games in 2012.

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