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Video: Porte throws down Tour gauntlet, Dunbar solid in Suisse

Posted on: June 14th, 2018

Richie Porte

Richie Porte pulled the trigger and Eddie Dunbar did well in the fall-out behind. But up front Søren Kragh Andersen was winning stage 6.

 

Richie Porte shows he’s ready for Chris Froome

 

He may not have won today’s stage at the Tour de Suisse, but Richie Porte was the man of the stage.

The overall leader of the race, he went to the front of the peloton on the final climb. Nobody in the bunch could hold him, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) on his wheel and sitting up.

After the Australian simply rode the rest of the field off his wheel, two groups were ahead of him on the road.

Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) suffered bad luck with a mechanical in the breakaway. However, while that cost him a shot at a stage win, he still picked up the climbers’ jersey.

The only Irishman in the race, Eddie Dunbar enjoyed a strong finale. He rode in the bunch today and finished in 31st place; some 54 seconds down.

But he was among the top 25 riders in the peloton, proving one of the strongest when the race split under the pressure applied on the final short climb by Porte.

The Tasmanian now leads overall by 32 seconds with three stages remaining. Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen, both of Team Sunweb, are 2nd and 3rd on the same time.

 

 

Some 18 riders had broken clear early in the race and 10 of those – in a lead group of six and four chasers – were still clear on the final climb before the road evened out for the finish.

Porte closed down a gap of well over one minute to catch and pass the chasers, and also the front group.

But the time he got back to the head of the field, Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) had jumped up the road to win.

Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) had also attacked the leaders and would take 2nd place.

Porte would finish with the remaining four men from the breakaway; taking 6th on the stage and extending his race lead.

It was a dominant performance from Porte at the end of a hard 186km stage from Fiesch to Gommiswald.

The riders faced the major climbs of the Furkapass and then the Klausenpass before the road flattened out.

Close to the end there was a sting in the tail; a 3km climb crested just over 1km from the finish.

And it was there than the breakaway’s advantage of almost two minutes came right down, Porte showing he is by far the best in the race.

 

Richie Porte

Richie Porte

Richie Porte

Top down: Dunbar was solid when Porte split the field, photo by Karen Edwards. Kelderman time his effort from the breakaway to perfection to win. Christian takes the climbing lead, Aqua Blue Sport’s second jersey after Calvin Watson had held the points jersey.

 

When Richie Porte initially went he simply went to the front and rode harder, rather than put in an attack.

The field was stretched out and within a few hundred metres the first gaps began to appear. Porte continued to ride aggressively out of the saddle, Quintana on his wheel.

However, the Colombian riding for Movistar couldn’t hold him and sat up. From that point Porte as detached off the front of the depleted peloton and gained time all the way to the line.

It was the kind of attack that signalled his condition is exactly where it should be as the Tour de France approaches.

He had a testing time in the French Grand Tour, crashing out on stage 8 and facing a very long recovery.

However, for the first time since the Tour the BMC Racing leader looks in mint condition. And while Chris Froome (Team Sky) will go into the Tour as champion and favourite, Porte looks like he will really put it up to him.

In the end he was just 12 seconds ahead of the best of those riders in the peloton he had left behind. However, had the stage been uphill all the way to the line, that gap would have been significantly bigger.

In today’s early stage, Mark Christian represented Aqua Blue Sport and looked very strong.

With just under 30km remaining, Christian was in a group of seven men who had ridden clear of the other 11 escapees.

However, his chain then came off. And as he is riding a 3T machine with a single chain ring, it took him a little longer to get the chain back on.

By the time he got the problem resolved he was a long way off the back of what was now a leading six. And a group of three chasers would catch him.

And that’s the way it stayed; the leading six around two minutes head of the bunch all the way to the final climb and the four chasers about one minute clear of the field.

 

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