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Porte's Tour hopes punctured

  • Porte's Tour hopes punctured

    Just two days into the Tour de France, Australian cycling star Richie Porte is on the back foot.

Just two days into the Tour de France, Australian cycling star Richie Porte is on the back foot.

The Tasmanian's ill-timed puncture in stage two cost him a minute and 45 seconds, giving him a significant setback in a race where he aims to be a podium contender.

Big names always suffer misfortune in the Tour's opening week, where the stages are flat but riders are on edge.

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Spanish star Alberto Contador is also struggling after two crashes in the opening stages.

Porte did not hide his emotions after stage two into Cherbourg, won by Slovakian star Peter Sagan.

"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," he said.

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

Compounding the problem, neutral service did not immediately change his rear wheel.

Also, Porte's BMC teammates took their time to offer support as he madly tried to chase the peloton.

Some stayed with their other main rider Tejay van Garderen, while Greg van Avermaet was after the stage win.

Marcus Burghardt dropped back to help Porte, but the aftermath of the puncture puts a focus on BMC having joint team leaders for the Tour.

Still, Porte acknowledged that no amount of team help would have stopped him losing time.

"When you're going that fast, there's not that much you can do in terms of the bike change," he said.

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

The puncture continues Porte's wretched luck as a team leader at three-week Grand Tours.

Last year, his Giro d'Italia hopes were scuppered when race judges controversially docked him two minutes for accepting a spare wheel from compatriot Simon Clarke.

"The Tour is far from over but it's quite a hard one to take," Porte said of this latest setback.

Meanwhile, fellow Australian Michael Matthews crashed on stage two in the same incident where Contador hit the deck.

The Canberra rider hurt his back, but he was able to rally and finish fifth - his best result at the Tour.

Like Contador, it was also Matthews' second crash in as many stages.

Last year he completed his Tour debut despite several broken ribs.

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