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July 3, 2016 – Australian Richie Porte insisted his Tour de France hopes were not over despite losing time on Sunday’s second stage due to a puncture. Porte was well placed in a charging peloton inside the final 5km of Sunday’s stage when he punctured his back wheel, meaning he had to stop and wait for his team car to get a new bike.
So close to the finish, with the speed the peloton was travelling at, the puncture could not have come at a worse time. Porte ended up losing 1min 45sec to his main rivals for overall victory in Paris. “It was a disaster. But what can you do when you are sitting second wheel, in the perfect position?” moaned the 31-year-old Tasmanian. “I don’t know what I did but the next thing I know, my rear tyre went down and I had to try and get back through the peloton.
“I guess you can only move on. (BMC team-mate) Marcus Burghardt came back but when you are going that fast there’s not much you can do in terms of a bike change. “It all just happened so quickly that by the time Burghardt came back the bunch was gone anyhow.” Porte came into this year’s race with high hopes and his first opportunity to lead a team after helping Britons Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome to their Tour victories whilst part of Sky.
Now with BMC, he is co-leader for the Tour alongside American Tejay Van Garderen, who finished alongside reigning champion Froome and Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, the other main favourite. “The Tour de France is far from over. It’s quite a hard one to take but at the end of the day I guess we just pretend it never happened and wait for the mountains to come,” said the Australian. “It’s only a bike race isn’t it? So I’m sure the sun will come up tomorrow.”
Van Garderen insisted there was still time to make up the lost ground and stressed that nothing had changed in the team’s hierarchy. “I feel horrible for Richie. The only thing I can say is that when you get to the third week of the Tour de France, two minutes could mean nothing,” said the American.
“(Twice former winner Alberto) Contador also lost 50 seconds. The Tour is a marathon so hopefully Richie can stay strong in his head. Richie and I are still co-leaders. Anything can happen.”