Richie Porte had a target on his back when he lined up for the final 115km stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in the yellow jersey and was put to the test as soon as the flag dropped at KM 0.
With four tough climbs on the menu, including the final hors categorie Plateau de Solaison summit finish, Porte’s rivals attacked him on the ascent of the Col del des Saisies and from there it was a battle for Porte to hold onto his race lead.
Strong attacks from the General Classification contenders isolated Porte from his teammates and forced Porte to respond to every attack.
“I think I showed in the end that I’m going well and I’m on track for July. It’s bitterly disappointing to lose it by such a small margin but credit to Jakob Fulgsang. I think I was up against it from KM0 as it seems there were a few guys who preferred to see me lose the race and they lose their podium as well. I don’t know what you can really learn from a stage like that. I guess that’s racing but bring on July.”
“I found myself in a position with no teammates, isolated. I could have done with a couple more teammates up there today. It was me against everyone there for a little bit. You don’t forget that for July. It was a solid race. I’m happy for Jakob, he’s a great rider.”
“I can definitely take confidence out of the race in general. I know my form is there and of course it would have been nice to finish it off today, but it’s definitely good signs for the Tour de France.”