Puncture deflates Porte’s Tour hopes

AUSTRALIAN Richie Porte will go into tonight's third stage of the Tour de France 1min 59sec behind race leader Peter Sagan after a puncture on stage two.

The BMC team leader was well placed when he suffered the problem inside the final 5km to cruel his chances of a podium finish.

A neutral service vehicle came to his aid but a lengthy delay in changing his wheel compounded his problem and he is now chasing the likes of teammate Teejay van Garderen, defending champion Chris Froome, Fabio Aru and Nairo Quintana, who are all 14seconds behind world champion Sagan, who won a sprint finish.

"It was a disaster but what can you do?" Porte told reporters.

"You're sitting second wheel, and in the perfect position and then ... I don't know what I hit but the next minute the rear tire went down.

"It's a disaster but I don't know what you can do ... Just move on I suppose."

epa05405816 Tinkoff team rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia celebrates on the podium wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey following the 2nd stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling race over 183km between Saint-Lo and Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France, 03 July 2016.  EPA/YOAN VALAT
epa05405816 Tinkoff team rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia celebrates on the podium wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey following the 2nd stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling race over 183km between Saint-Lo and Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France, 03 July 2016. EPA/YOAN VALAT YOAN VALAT

With van Garderen also a chance for a Tour win, it took a while for a BMC teammate to come to Porte's assistance.

Marcus Burghardt did belatedly help pace him home but by then the damage was done and even with more teammates helping him, Porte would have conceded time to his rivals.

"I had Marcus Burghardt come back but when you're going that fast, there's not that much you can do in terms of the bike change," Porte said.

"It all just happened so quickly, so by the time Burghardt got back to me the bunch was gone anyhow."

Two-time winner Alberto Contador is also off the pace after his second crash in two days.

Porte is not giving up on getting back in the race but found it hard to accept what had happened.

"The Tour is far from over but it's quite a hard one to take," he said.

"I think we'll just pretend like it never happened and look forward to the mountains to come.

"At the end of the day it's just a bike race.

"I'm sure that the sun will come out tomorrow.

"It's far from over.

"Maybe in the third week I can go up the road and go for a stage."


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