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There’s no other place to start than with stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia. It was one of those days that puts hairs on your chest.
Basically, I was near the back getting a feed bag and was busy putting my bottles in and thinking that it had been a hard start, but then Bora started riding and that it was it. I never saw the front of the race for the rest of the day. Fair play to Carapaz for more than hanging in there on his own, and credit to Bora because they had their plan and they executed it. Their plan was a bit like our plan but they got to it first, and they ripped the race apart.
In that sort of situation there’s really not that much you can do if you’ve been caught out. At that point, when I knew it wasn’t coming back, all I could do was try and get through the stage and save my legs for the days to come. It wasn’t ideal to have Richard isolated but apart from Bahrain, almost every leader was in that position.
Read more from Richie Porte:
- Full Circle: Richie Porte Giro d’Italia blog
- The calm before the storm: Richie Porte part II
- Chapeau to Simon Yates but this Giro d’Italia is just getting started
- Richie Porte’s Giro d’Italia blog: It’s better to be dishing it out than to be taking it
- Richie Porte’s Giro d’Italia blog: Not everyone on Blockhaus had the same finish line
A few people have asked me if Bora’s ride was a surprise, but it really wasn’t. On paper they have some really strong riders but they’ve been good, patient, and rock solid. Buchmann, Kelderman, Hindley. There are no real surprises there because they’re quality riders. As an Australian it’s awesome to see Jai in a race like that. He was second a couple of years ago and that didn’t go to his head at all. He’s really the one who is going to give us the biggest headache over the last week.
At the same time it was sad to see Romain Bardet go home. Saturday would have been right up his alley. He would have been really good on that course.
Now we’re into the final week it’s all going to come down to who the strongest rider will be and how they can avoid or manage any bad luck that comes their way. As for us, the key is just about getting Richard into the right position on the final climbs and supporting him as best we can. He’s a pure racer, a killer, when it comes to the finals of racing and we’re all really confident in what he can do during the final week. Having the maglia rosa also gives us a big boost in confidence, and we know what we have to do for the final batch of stages. The harder the race, the tougher the conditions, the more Richard comes into his own.
There’s no getting away from how hard the final week is going to be, and we know that the weather is going to be a factor, too. My legs have earned this rest day, and I’ve enjoyed switching off for a few hours. Tomorrow we’ve got the Mortirolo, and for us we just want to have the numbers. That’s going to be key.
I have to say though, I’m still enjoying the Giro. Everyone at this point is battling fatigue and tiredness to an extent, but off the bike the mood in the camp is still relaxed and determined. We’re in the lead, and we know what we have to do. So it’s basically up to us to get the job done.