Mûr-de-Bretagne: Australian Tour de France hope Richie Porte had pencilled in Thursday’s finishing climb of stage six, the Mûr de Bretagne, as a “good showdown” for overall contenders like himself.
“A good rider who is strong today will be strong in the final two weeks as well,” the 33-year-old Tasmanian added before the 181km stage from Brest to the top of the two kilometre climb got underway.
A little more than four hours later, Porte’s forecast rang loud and clear. He was one of eight top Tour contenders to gain some handy time that may prove vital come the Tour finish in Paris on July 29.
Joining Porte in those time gains was Irish stage winner Daniel Martin (UAE), Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Mikel Landa (Movistar), Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Welshman Geraint Thomas (Sky), Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), and Dane Jacob Fuglsang (Astana).
Martin won the stage by one second from Frenchman Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) and 3s on a group of 13 riders that included Valverde (3rd) Yates (6th), Thomas (9th), Porte (11th), Quintana (13th), Nibali (14th) and Fuglsang (15th); as well as Porte’s Belgian teammate and overall race leader, Greg Van Avermaet (12th) who kept the yellow jersey.