Porte managed to make his way to the group of leaders, led by Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain McLaren) who had the most to gain in the overall standings of the time-losing Porte. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) stepped back to help Landa drive the pace, but with the help of Tom Dumoulin and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) Porte was able to return to the yellow jersey group with 10 kilometers to go.
Porte finished at the same time as his main rivals and will embark on the time trial with the goal of toppling Lopez from his third position overall and finishing on the podium in Paris.
Porte was asked after the race if relief was the main emotion he felt after avoiding wasted time.
“100 percent,” Porte said. “To have a flat tire like that, of course, it’s going to happen to me. But it was a great chase and I didn’t really think I was going to make it. I guess I had to fight. The team has been great around me all week. It’s the least I can do.
Porte’s front puncture resulted in a change of bike for the Australian climber, with his Trek-Segafredo on the scene to help him.
“I had a bike change, it was faster,” Porte said. “We were supposed to have a mechanic halfway there, I don’t know where he was but he was after the gravel, which I don’t really understand. In the end, it was faster to get a bike anyway.
” All’s well That ends well.
Porte got some help from Jumbo-Visma as Dumoulin and van Aert tried to come back to help in the defense of Primož Roglič’s yellow jersey (Jumbo-Visma).
“At the end of the day, Roglič was there with Kuss and a bit isolated,” Porte said. “They helped me get back a bit, which I appreciate.
“It’s good to have friends in the group and I would do the same for them if I can. It was a good day to do, I feel like I have already done my time trial. It was so hard to come back.
Main climb of the day, the Col des Glières said some small surges from the best climbers, but it ended up being more a rise of wear and tear than the scene of big attacks from the best riders. Porte was asked if he intended to attack on the climb.
“Not really,” Porte said, “they (Jumbo-Visma) had numbers there and it was such a tough climb. It’s another day, skip tomorrow and hopefully have a good time trial.
The Tour de France 2020 continues with the 19th 166 km stage from Bourg-en-Brease to Champagnole which could decide the green jersey. Watch on SBS HD and SBS On Demand from 9:30 p.m. AEST and the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker from 9:20 p.m. AEST.