Once again stage 2 of the Tour de France was unkind to Richie Porte with the Australian falling during the wet sprint stage from Dusseldorf to Liege. However, unlike Cherbourg last year when the BMC rider lost 1:45 minutes to Chris Froome (Team Sky) due to a mechanical, where was no time lost for the Australian.
Porte was one of several riders involved in an accident on a roundabout with around 30km to go. Also falling was Froome and his teammate yellow jersey wearer Geraint Thomas, along with GC contender Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). Like Porte, they also suffered minor superficial injuries but all managed to remount and finish the stage without conceding time.
"I came out of the crash ok but there were a few guys that went down a lot harder. It was a stressful day. It was the first real stage of the Tour and then you get the rain, then it dries up, and then starts raining again," Porte said of the crash in a team release. "It was a nice one to come through and it's nice to get the first crash out of the way and get on with it. Hopefully my knee is ok, I have a little bit of a bang on that, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
In his daily diary with the Sydney Morning Herald, Porte provided further detail on the incident,
"While I banged my knee up a bit and my hands, I'll be fine. Others have been far less lucky in the last two rain-stricken days when they have crashed; and seeing them in Saturday's time trial and now Sunday's second stage only reinforces how precarious any rider's presence in the Tour really is," he said.
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BMC's sports director Fabio Baldato explained that the team had anticipated a nervous start to the Tour and was happy to have navigated the stage with only the one minor incident.
"We know that the first stages of the Tour de France are always nervous. Today, we also had the rain which made things difficult," Baldato said. "We got through it. Of course, you always need to be attentive and anything can happen. You saw the crash. It was at a roundabout and with the rain everybody wanted to stay at the front. We made it to the finish without a lot of trouble. We will look tonight but I hope there is nothing serious."
The team also defending the second place and white jersey of Tour debutant Stefan Küng. However, the Swiss rider was also involved the crash with a bloody knee an obvious sign of the fall.
"I think it was more of a grey jersey by the end of the stage rather than a white jersey. It was the first real road stage of my Tour de France career so it was quite special. There were a lot of people on the side of the road which was amazing," said Küng. "It was also pretty hectic. With all of the people and the rain, it was difficult for everyone. So, everyone wanted to be up there. We tried to get through as safe as possible. The crash happened but this is something that happens and it was good that no one was too hurt. If we had keep going like that without the crash, it would have been a perfect day for us."
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