Richie Porte (BMC) took the biggest win of his professional career on Sunday as he wrapped up the general classification at the Tour de Suisse, his final race before the Tour de France, before vowing to improve his form at July's Grand Tour.
The Australian had an indifferent spring but after finishing third at the Tour de Romandie in April he found another gear at the Tour de Suisse, winning the event from Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
"This was a big goal. Let's not beat around the bush. It's a very important race and I think it's disrespectful to say it's a 'lead in' race for the Tour de France as it means a lot to win it. It's such a prestigious race," Porte said in a press release on Sunday.
"So, I think going forward into the Tour de France, it's a good sign to win here. It would have been nice to have won a stage here and maybe if the breakaway hadn't stayed away on Thursday's stage, I would have won one but, at the end of the day, to win the general classification was the big goal and I'm still happy with the victory. I'm ready for the Tour de France. I did a good race here. I'm not at the top of my form just yet so I am excited for July."
BMC Racing won the team time trial at the start of the race with Stefan Küng leading until stage 5, when Porte moved into the yellow jersey. Quintana put Porte under pressure and won the mountaintop finish at Arosa on stage 7 before Porte extended his advantage during the final time trial on Sunday.
"It hasn't been an easy week but the guys did a fantastic job. We really had our work cut out for us and we didn't get a lot of help from the other teams. I was a little bit worried coming into today about guys like [Wilco] Kelderman but I'm happy with the time we put into them at the start of the race. I think it was a fantastic week."
Porte, 33, heads into the Tour de France with his confidence high. BMC Racing will centre their race ambitions around the Australian, who is bidding to end Chris Froome's run of domination.
"Before this race, I hadn't raced since Tour de Romandie. I was at home for the birth of my son two weeks ago and I've only had one night at home with him so, I think it's great for me to get to go home for a bit of time before a training camp and then hopefully I'll be better at the Tour de France."
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