Porte: Hailstones left me with welts ... good thing we wear helmets

ByRichie Porte ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Throughout the Tour de France, Australian professional cyclist Richie Porte will be checking in. Here is his latest entry, as told to ESPN contributor Rupert Guinness:

First Rest Day -Escaldes-Egordany, Andorra

With the Pyrenees behind us in this year's 103rd Tour de France, everyone is now looking to Mont Ventoux, the summit finish of stage 12, as the next pivotal moment of the race.

That's understandable, given the mountain is one of the hardest to race up in Europe.

But what happens there could also depend on what happens the day before.

After Monday's rest day, we leave the Pyrenees for Tuesday's 197km 10th stage from Escaldes-Egordany in Andorra to Revel in France. Danger then lurks during Wednesday's 162.5km 11th stage from Carcassonne to Montpellier, when there is chance of a cross wind.

If those winds prevail, that could be stressful. If such winds strike and the peloton splits up, it could set the scene for an even more interesting stage to Mont Ventoux. Cross winds require a great read of race; and if not responded to correctly can be costly with time losses.

However, I think we have the team at BMC for cross winds; and if conditions are otherwise.

An ability to race in varying conditions is part and parcel of bike racing, and I was reminded of that when I woke up on Monday morning for the first of two rest days in this year's Tour.

What reminded me were the bruises on my arms where my tan line stops; I had little welts from the hail storm that struck us on Sunday. It's a good thing we have helmets on.

That alone made one think of the stage and who was stronger in the Pyrenean stage or not.

It was also interesting to see discussion over whether or not Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is holding back on the race by not trying to attack race leader Chris Froome (Sky).

I don't know. Maybe Quintana was on his limit. I think it's silly to read into anything just yet.

I saw him race earlier this year at the Volta a Catalunya and he is a pretty aggressive rider.

I guess he is saving it for Thursday? If not, the main thing is to be ready for when he tries.

Which all leads to what we all may have gained from the rest day in Andorra, or not.

To be honest, I am not a massive fan of rests days. I would just rather get the Tour done.

I had a pretty rough night of sleep on Sunday night to Monday morning with Portuguese fans outside the team hotel making a racket after Portugal's 2016 Euro football final victory.

But at least as a rider you are granted most of the day to yourself until late team meetings.

BMC's plan says wake up 'whenever'. There is not time limit so long we are riding by 10.30.

But I was awake on Sunday at 7.10am, and at breakfast with the staff. So my rest day began.

After rising earlier than usual for the stage, I was all ready to go but with no race to race.

It was good though to get more time for treatment from the osteopath and have a massage.

We then rode 40 kilometres easy, in and around Andorra, even skipping the coffee shop -- after which we had lunch and the afternoon to ourselves, in my case, with my wife, Gemma.

As we walked along the river outside our hotel in Andorra-La Vielle, it was easy to think of how lucky we are to be in a sport that takes you to such far off areas like the Pyrenees.

But then, those mountains are behind us now - for at least another year. So what's ahead?

Hopefully that is a question I can help answer with performance, and a good one at that.

Related Video