The Australian was unable to follow when Daniel Martin (Etixx QuickStep) and Froome surged clear towards the top of the final ascent. After a frantic and pulsating day of racing, the BMC Racing rider was forced to limit his losses and despite the slight crack, he did just enough to hang onto his second place with Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) tied on the same time.
“In the end, I was missing a bit but it was just such a hard day and I haven’t done a lot of racing, I certainly paid for that today,” Porte said at the finish.
The stage was won by Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and punctuated by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) attempting to split the race on the early climbs and then on the long ascent of the Col de la Madeleine.
“For sure all those guys attacking so far out – it was just a hectic day – and that’s what you’re always going to get with those short sharp stages. Today the guys were fantastic around me and I think tomorrow we’ve just got to finish it off.”
Porte praised former race leader Alberto Contador who, as expected, sent riders up the road and then attempted to go clear on the Madeleine himself. His efforts proved in vain and he was unable to isolate Froome but his aggressive approach certainly tested his rivals.
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