Richie Porte is the third Ineos Grenadiers rider in as many periods to take a result at the Criterium du Dauphine. First was Geraint Thomas who surged to stage 5 victory after a little of a glitch in Wednesday’s time trial, then Tao Geoghegan Hart testified his strength with second on stage 6. Porte’s runner-up finish on the penultimate stage, propelling him into the race lead, was the next in a series of occurrences that should come as no surprise given his team’s immense strength.
“When Movistar came and situate the tempo, they didn’t truly have that many guys left, ” Porte said after stage 7. “Then Geraint[ Thomas] said,’ Off you go’. It was the plan this morning that I attack, I’ve been thereabouts this year but was never actually able to stretch the legs. We had the numbers, Tao’s been brilliant, G also. It’s great to be back in this team and I’m enjoying ride my bike.”
Porte has been in this position before, although in rather different circumstances. Eighteen months after leaving Team Sky for the BMC Racing Team, he was resulting the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine merely to fall victim to ambush by superior squads on the last day. In the end, he finished second overall by only 10 seconds behind Jakob Fuglsang( Astana ).
“I’ve been here before in the penultimate stage wearing the yellow jersey, ” Porte said. “I’m under no illusions, it’s not going to be easy tomorrow, the Dauphine is always won on the last day. But to be here in the yellow jersey, with a brand-new crew, I’m over the moon.”
The Ineos Grenadiers came into the race with 2018 Dauphine and Tour de France champ Geraint Thomas as team president. However, as is always the case with the British clothing, the government has alternatives in their domestiques who are also proven winners, one of them a former Giro d’Italia champion.
Geoghegan Hart finished second on Friday’s stage 6 having played a supporting persona for Thomas, and later described his team as having an “embarrassment of riches”. While they would not be the first to boast such money, the Ineos Grenadiers do appears to have cracked the formula where others have not.
“It can be[ complicated ], but it’s one of the reasons why that we’re here, with the Tour in head, ” Geoghegan Hart said of his team’s immense strength. “You try to build a team so that you don’t always need to communicate; you know what to do.”
The Ineos Grenadiers brain into stage 8 with first, third and 11 th on GC, all within 1:24. Sunday is by far the hardest stage of the Dauphine with nothing less than six categorised climbs, including the hors-category Col de Joux-Plane, which they crest 17 km from the finish.
“The Joux-Plane is a climb you have nightmares about, it’s one of the most solid climbs in world cycling, ” Porte said. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll dedicate it our all and I’m motivated to try and bring this jersey home.”
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