After a crash and crosswind time losses, Richie Porte's 2019 Tour de France struck a much more encouraging note in the race's one individual time trial on stage 13, where he finished fifth. He is ready to go into the mountains with heightened morale.
Porte was just 45 seconds down on stage winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and is now 15th on the overall ranking, 4:44 back.
As the Australian veteran pointed out, he is still bouncing back from his crash into Toulouse a couple of days ago, so a solid result in a time trial like this one is even more welcome than usual.
Furthemore, a pre-stage discussion about strategy with former multiple world time trial champion Michael Rogers paid off very well indeed.
"There were no real tactics, I couldn't look at my Garmin anyway because it doesn't work for me, but I had a good chat with Mick Rogers last night. He said keep it simple and so we did," Porte told reporters.
"It was a hot day, I felt good, obviously having a crash a couple of days ago has knocked me about a bit.
"I'm happy with the time and I know there are still some strong guys to finish so we'll see how it stands up. The climbing part of the TT was good form, but I suffered on the last part of the flat."
In the end, Porte lost 31 seconds to Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) and ceded only nine to Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) but gained time on all of his other rivals.
Asked about whether he could handle the 35 degree temperatures, Porte answered with a grin, "being from Tasmania I'm used to the hot weather."
Porte refused to pinpoint the time trial as being exceptionally important, though, preferring to say that every stage was one that counted in the Tour de France. "Every day has been crucial, it's just the way you guys [the media] put a spin on it," he concluded before heading off to the team hotel.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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