Stage 10: Mulhouse to la Planche des Belles Filles, 161.5km
Truth be known, I’m really happy the final stage in the Vosges of the Tour de France is out of the way and that longer climbs, which suit me much better, are to come.
Monday’s tenth stage from Mulhouse to la Planches des Belles Filles was a hard, hard day with seven categorised climbs, including the final 5.9km ascent to the finish line.
Saying that, I am second overall at two minutes, 23 seconds to Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). I feel pretty happy with where I am.
Making Monday's stage more difficult was the rain. Descending on these sinuous forest roads is quite hairy, especially when cycling at 70km/h.
We saw what the catastrophic results can be. Alberto Contador crashed with 94km to go in the stage and abandoned. After X-rays, he discovered he had fractured his tibia.
You can’t help but feel for Alberto and for his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates. They had all put so much into preparing for the Tour, and were clearly up for it, but for it all to end just like that …
I didn’t see Alberto crash. I heard it because it happened behind me. But once he decided to stop and abandon 4km later, after bravely trying to continue, it didn’t take long for the Tour to get back to full steam.
And then, once the remnants of the day’s main breakaway were caught, the stage again led to a reshuffle of the overall classification with Nibali taking back the lead from Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol).
As expected, it all happened in the finale. After we hit the last climb up la Planche des Belles Filles, Nibali set off alone to be the first to catch and drop the remaining riders from the break before going alone to win.
He is in great shape, as his attack and victory showed, but I was a little miffed by how the others in the chase group with me responded in the finale.
I don’t fully understand, but everybody just let me do the chasing. I swung over a couple of times for someone to take a turn at the front of our group, but no one did.
It’s their choice if they don’t want to race for the win, and they may have also gapped me at the end, when I was seventh on the stage at 25 seconds.
But all in all, I am happy. I know it's not going to be easy to finish the job off, but I am confident I am in good condition, that my health is good and that my teammates are right behind me.
It would be nice to have some of the lost time on Nibali back before the Pyrenees arrive in the third week, but you can’t plan for everything to go your way on the Tour.
Nibali showed on Monday he can attack wherever and whenever – but I know what I have to do.
It’s about managing recovery over the full Tour. There is still a long way to go (1700km), and so much can happen over that distance.
You just have to be ready for when something does happen, and respond as calmly and quickly as possible.
Richie Porte is a rider for Team Sky
The story Richie Porte's Diary: I'm keen for the long climbs and ready for anything first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.