Australia's Richie Porte survived what was a very late puncture scare after a hitting a pothole inside the final eight kilometres of stage 14 of the Tour de France on Saturday. However Porte – ninth overall, 2:06 behind race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) – was able to take Trek-Segafredo teammate Kenny Elissonde's bike and quickly rejoined the main group with around six kilometres left to race.
"There was a hug pothole, which wasn't ideal, so I had a double puncture [both wheels]," Porte explained in a video interview posted to social media by Trek-Segafredo on Saturday evening. "Kim Andersen, our director, had said that the roads weren't the best in the final, so we knew that Kenny was always to be close by, so as soon as it happened, luckily Kenny was pretty close by, and I was able to jump back on [his bike] and eventually come back to the bunch."
Porte said that it was lucky that Elissonde is roughly his size, as having to take any of his other Trek-Segafredo teammates' bikes would have made things considerably trickier to try to chase back on.
"If I'd had to take Jasper Stuyven's bike, I'm not sure that I would have been able to touch the pedals because it's a fair bit bigger," Porte laughed. "It was a close shave, but we were lucky to come away with no time loss.
"I think I was lucky that by that time, Søren Kragh Andersen had attacked, and everyone was looking at each other a little bit," Porte said, when in fact the stage winner didn't attack until around three kilometres to go. "I think it slowed up in the front because I got back at the bottom of the climb, so it was all good."
Asked to explain the process of arranging, and then making, the bike swap during what would have been an extremely stressful point in the race, Porte said: "I was able to get on the radio, even though I had a double puncture, and asked Kenny to swap, and Kenny was pretty quickly on the scene, so, yeah, straight onto the bike, really.
"He's actually shorter than me, which doesn't happen very often," Porte smiled, "but for most of the climb I was able to ride out of the saddle anyhow, so it wasn't much different.
"The only thing that was different was that his brakes are [set up] a lot looser than mine are, so that was a little bit hair-raising coming into the finale, but it all worked out well."
Porte – and, ideally, Elissonde, should he be needed again – will aim to again be at the head of affairs on Sunday's stage 15, which ends with a summit finish on the Col du Grand Colombier.
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