Richie Porte was on a bad day in the 37km time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to Pont-d’Arc.
It was a windy, lumpy stage and he took his lumps, finishing 21st and losing another two minutes to his former Sky captain and current maillot jaune Chris Froome of Team Sky.
Porte had already taken his lumps yesterday in slamming practically face first into the back of a race moto that came to an sudden stop in front of the crowds blocking the narrow road up Mont Ventoux.
While Froome and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) also went down hard, it was Porte who suffered most. Today Mollema produced the “time trial of my life” after his Ventoux crash. Sadly for Porte, he struggled along, admitting he was sore and that “it hurt like Hell.”
Porte finished in the same time and with the same deficit as Froome’s chief rival Nairo Quintana of Movistar. The diminutive Colombian at 5′ 6″ and the Tasmanian at 5′ 8″ were both pushed around by the high winds that didn’t seem to trouble the emaciated Froome to the same degree.
At the end of the race against the clock, after Froome put significant time into all his top rivals, both Porte and Quintana began to hear that dreaded media headline: Is the Tour over? The answer of course is no but the signs are trending ominous. It seems that nobody can catch Froome even when he is on foot or riding a neutral service bike that doesn’t fit.
Porte can take comfort in the fact that he’s still climbing up the GC ranks. He now sits in 8th position with his BMC teammate Tejay van Garderen in 6th. Long way to Paris and a brutal third week in the Alps awaits.
On Ventoux, he showed he could stick with Froome as Quintana faded back, unable to match the acceleration and wattage output. Porte prefers the punchy Pyreneen climbs to the long, slow grind of the Alps that favor his diesel-powered teammate Van Garderen.
Porte said after the time trial that he “wasn’t really happy with my sensations.” Perhaps he will feel better in the Alps.