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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.