Porte left lick­ing his wounds af­ter crash

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - SAM EDMUND

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.

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