Porte left licking his wounds after crash
RICHIE Porte’s Tour de France fight has got bloody as he battles to navigate the race’s infamous first week.
The Australian is nursing a sore and bloodied right knee after a mass Stage 2 crash on more wet and slippery roads.
German powerhouse Marcel Kittel ( Quick- Step Floors) won the 203km journey from Dusseldorf to the industrial Belgian city of Liege, triumphantly saluting after holding off Arnaud Demare ( FDJ) and Andre Greipel ( Lotto Soudal).
But on a day in which fellow Australian Luke Durbridge ( Orica- Scott) was forced to abandon due to crash injuries sustained on Stage 1, Porte was one of several victims on another chaotic day.
While the mountains present obvious challenges, for those who dream of yellow, the first days of this race present the most danger.
Porte and his title rivals Chris Froome ( Team Sky) and Romain Bardet ( AG2R) were among a group of riders caught up in a nasty crash on a roundabout with 30km to go on Stage 2.
The Australian took skin off his right knee and was sore upon returning to the BMC team bus. Froome took longer to get up and was forced to chase with a handful of similarly battered teammates, while also having to stop for a replacement bike.
Yet Porte, whose cautious approach to the treacherous Stage 1 time trial saw him fall 35 seconds behind Froome, battled to hide his frustration afterwards.
“It’s nice to get the first crash out of the way and you know, get on with it,” Porte said sarcastically.
“It was stressful. First stage of the Tour and then you get the rain, then it dries up and then it starts raining again.”
With the roads underwater at one point, Porte was left with nowhere to go when a mass crash hit the field as it negotiated a roundabout.
“Obviously I got tangled up in it, but I came out of it OK. There was a few guys who went down quite a lot harder and fortunately I landed on top of them,” he said.