Richie Porte, second overall in the Tour de France on Friday morning but now 14th overall more than a quarter of an hour off the race lead, says he has been struggling with a chest infection. The Team Sky rider’s his main objective for the rest of the race now is to make it to Paris for the finale next Sunday.
As the race headed into the Alps for Friday’s Stage 13 the Tasmanian, made team leader after defending champion Chris Froome crashed out on Stage 5, had a deficit of just 2 minutes 23 seconds on race leader Vincenzo Nibali of Astana.
But on Friday, Porte shipped more than 8 minutes to the Italian, winner of the stage in Chamrousse, and yesterday lost almost five minutes to him, and now lies 16 minutes 3 seconds down.
Team medical staff are assessing the 29-year-old’s condition on a daily basis, and after yesterday’s stage, he told TeamSky.com: "I’ve not been feeling 100% so I've gone on antibiotics to try and knock the infection on the head.
“I’ve been feeling it on my lungs and haven’t been breathing well.
"It’s really disappointing, especially as this was my first real chance to show what I could do in the Tour.
“All the guys have been riding so strongly for me but this bug has really taken it out of me, and it’s just one of those things unfortunately.
“I’m going to take things day by day but I really want to complete the Tour and hopefully I’ll be able to make it to Paris,” he added.
Before the start of this morning’s Stage 15, Porte told Australian journalist Rupert Guinness that he hopes to have recovered sufficiently to have an opportunity to do something in the Pyrenees in the coming days.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.