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"It's the Tour de France, the goal is to get to Paris. Even yesterday (Saturday) when I wasn't great, I still made it in before the gruppetto, so it's realistic to try and finish the race," Porte said.

Photo: Sirotti

CHRIS FROOME

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GERAINT THOMAS

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MIKEL NIEVE

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RICHIE PORTE

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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21.07.2014 @ 08:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Even though Richie Porte emerged as a true leader, highly motivated and praised by his team mates following a withdrawal of the Tour de France defending champion Chris Froome, Team Sky experienced yet another blow on Friday when the tiny Tasmanian suffered a very bad day in the mountains. Struggling with a virus infection and undeniable disappointment, however, the 29-year old rider promises not to throw in a towel and to do his best to reach the final destination in Paris.

 

After withdrawals of the biggest pre-race favorites Froome and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Porte was regarded one of a very few riders capable of challenging Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in a fight for a yellow jersey, but all his hopes for a decent result in the Tour de France general classification were crushed on the way to Chamrousse on Friday, when the Tasmanian suffered from virus infection and scorching heat.

 

"The last week hasn't been great and in the last few days I've started a course of antibiotics. It's not really ideal but the race goes on. I'm trying to get through today and into the rest day," he said at the start.

 

In such circumstances his goals for the 101st edition of the French grand tour have changed dramatically, from competing for a final victory in the event to simply hoping to finish the race. However, the 29-year old rider is still convinced that he will be able to recover from unpleasant setbacks and bounce back in the Pyrenees.

 

"Not to make excuses but my health hasn't been great. At the end of the day not all is lost. The Pyrenees stages are an opportunity and I hope to get through there and have another go," he said.

"It's the Tour de France, the goal is to get to Paris. Even yesterday (Saturday) when I wasn't great, I still made it in before the gruppetto, so it's realistic to try and finish the race."

 

While it seems an impossible task to save the Tour for Team Sky following their consecutive victories in the event in last two years, British squad principal Dave Brailsford admitted that their approach needed to be changed once again and they were planning a big offensive with the duo of Geraint Thomas and Mikel Nieve in the mountains.

 
"The goals have changed now and it as good to see G (Geraint Thomas) and Frosty (Nieve) out there flying the Sky flag. I think those guys can do the same job in the last three mountain stages," Porte confirmed those words.

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