Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

'Rapt' Richie Porte gets Tour campaign back on track

'Rapt' Richie Porte gets Tour campaign back on track

"The legs feel good and I'm optimistic about what is to come hopefully", said Froome. "We're on track but there's still so much to go through".

Van Avermaet, a Belgian who excels at single-day classics, isn't a threat for the overall title but he could keep the lead through the cobblestoned Stage 9 ending in Roubaix.

BMC Racing were the fifth team to start the stage and they laid down the marker early, edging other leading contenders Team Sky (38:50) and Mitchelton-Scott (38:55), to land themselves in the hot seat. "We did well as a team but disappointed not to take the win, we were so close", he said.

"Our aim was to take the maximum time out of all our rivals", he insisted. It would have been nice not to have lost it in the first place.

"It's amusing because at the end of the day it's just another bike race".

"There will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains".

"I was counting down the hours until it began and the first day is one of the best of the year". "That's the nature of the game".

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He guided the team to the quarter-finals of the competition in 2014 when they were beaten 1-0 by tournament winners Germany. At that time, we had a lot of players at the best clubs in the world, and that's the case now so we are happy.

Tom Dumoulin led the way for Sunweb, putting in a big shift over the early climb and another onto the final run-in, before swinging off for Michael Matthews to lead them home 11 seconds in arrears to BMC Racing.

Yates and Froome sit in 81st and 84th places respectively, 67 seconds off yellow but more concerned about the 51 second gap to the likes of Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Mikel Landa (Movistar).

"We rode out of our skin and super smooth and with the horsepower that we have did a great ride", the Irishman said.

Sky were second off the start ramp and set off to a mixed reception one week after the UCI announced it had closed its anti-doping investigation into Froome. "It's been a great little journey over the past couple of months to come to this team and become part of a really tight team time trial unit and to really add to that is something I will be proud of for a long time", he said.

Among the big losers today were Nairo Quintana, whose Movistar team came home 53 seconds down on BMC Racing, Bahrain-Merida with 2014 Tour de France victor Vincenzo Nibali, 1 minute and 6 seconds down, and Romain Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale, who came home 1 minute 15 seconds behind the day's victor.

Having won the first stage, and wearing the yellow jersey, Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) lead the peloton away from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain for the 182.5km of Stage 2 to La Roche-sur-Yon in the northwest of France. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".

"We were favourites and it was good to deliver. To win the stage with a team like we have here, and especially with the passing of Andy Rihs, is special", Porte said.

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