BMC duo Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte were happy to make it to the finish of the fourth consecutive sprint stage to Limoges, knowing the Tour de France race route turns in their favour and heads in to the Massif Central mountains on Wednesday.
Both finished safely in the peloton in the same time as winner Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) and so van Garderen remained in the same time as his overall rivals, 18 seconds down on Peter Sagan (Tinkoff). Porte, after losing time with puncture on stage 2, is 71st at 2:03.
The Tasmanian knows that he will have to take back time if he wants to fight for overall success but explained that the four short climbs on the road to Le Lioran is not the day to do it.
"With the downhill finish, I don't think you're going to make up much time but it's still a hard finish. You've got to take the initiative sometime but I don't think tomorrow is it," Porte explained, warning of the dangers the overall contenders face in the Massif Central.
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"We have done the recon, and there are a couple of nasty climbs in there. But also the run-in is a nasty, it's technical downhill so that could play a part in it too. There's a bit of a kick to the finish so for sure the last 40 kilometres are really going to trim the field out a little bit. Which is a good thing, it won't be so hectic as it has been."
Van Garderen warmed down and spun out the lactic acid from his legs as Porte spoke to he media at the BMC Racing team bus in Limoges. He seemed relieved to be done with the hectic sprints stages where victory can also award the yellow jersey or cost the big contenders vital seconds in a late split in the peloton.
"I'm really excited to head to the hills and get the GC sorted out a bit more. I think it will be a little less nervous and we'll get a sense of who's going well and who's not," he predicted.
The American predicted the overall contenders will rise to the top of the general classification on the stage.
"Richie and I did the recon together and it's a tricky stage. It's not going to be as hard as the Pyrenees but it will shake things up. You're not going to see Sagan and Cavendish up there."
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