Richie Porte put in a dominant time trial performance on stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné to take the win and mark his territory on the General Classification standings with four stage to go.
Porte set out on the 23.5km time trial looking to beat the best time of 28’19” set by Tony Martin (Team Katusha-Alpecin) and as he crossed the intermediate check point after 13km, he was just two seconds behind the German rider.
With the last 10km of the course featuring an uphill section, Porte put his climbing legs to the test and flew home to clock 28’07” on the line in Bourgion-Jalieu, 12 seconds ahead of Martin.
With 29 riders still to come home, Porte sat and waited to see if his time would hold up and as rider after rider reached the finish line, the stage win looked likely.
As the yellow jersey leader Thomas De Gendt crossed the line, Porte’s victory was assured and his winning time bumped him up to second on the General Classification, 27 seconds behind De Gendt.
Stage 5 is the final chance for the sprinters before Porte takes on his General Classification contenders on the final three mountain stages.
The Winner’s Interview with Richie Porte
Richie, congratulations! Did you expect to win today?
“I didn’t expect to beat guys like Tony Martin and Chris Froome with so much time. I didn’t expect to win this stage. I just felt really good. It’s nice to lay down a time trial like this finally. I really worked hard on my time trialling this year and it’s been a long time since I’ve done a good time trial like this.”
You’ve had a great start to the year. How do you feel now?
“I’m really happy with where I’m at so far this season and the team has put a lot of faith in me. I have really found a happy place. It’s always nice to win bike race. I’d love to win this race but we’ll have to see what happens the next few days. I think we have a great team here to make it hard on the weekend. They’ve been right around me the whole race. But I’d definitely rather be climbing well than time trialling well. It’s not over yet, there are some hard stages to come so I’m just happy with how today went. Whatever happens, happens but I’m on a good path and I’m happy with where I’m at.”
The is your last race before the Tour de France. How much confidence does this give you?
“I’m really happy with where I am at three weeks before the Tour de France and hopefully I’ll have a bit of luck and it will be a good Tour de France for me. With the team we will have for the tour, and the support the team has given me, I’m really happy. We have seen in the past that if Chris Froome is good here, he is good at the Tour de France, so I just hope that’s the same for me. Let’s look to the weekend more I think. There are going to be some really hard stages. I’m happy with today but I’m looking forward to the weekend too.”
“Definitely, in the Tour de France, it’s going to be won more in the mountains than in the time trials. I’m quite confident in how I’m climbing at the moment. I think a time trial like that is probably a good test as to where your form is at.”