Busy day for Tasmanian cyclists from France to Japan

Cap that: Richie Porte at the Tour de France team presentation in La Roche-sur-Yon ahead of the opening stage. Picture: AP
Cap that: Richie Porte at the Tour de France team presentation in La Roche-sur-Yon ahead of the opening stage. Picture: AP

Richie Porte was looking at the bigger picture as he was among several Tour de France contenders to lose time in a chaotic opening stage.

“That's the Tour,” lamented Launceston’s BMC team leader after joining fellow big guns Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) in losing early time on general classification.

Several crashes fragmented the field in the 201-kilometre stage from Noirmoutier-en-l'Île to Fontenay-le-Comte won by Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) with Porte 51 seconds down in 83rd.

“I was pretty close to coming down,” added the 33-year-old.

“I sort of rode Damiano Caruso, my teammate, into the ground and that softened the blow. I don't really know what happened to be honest, it's just one of those things. It's all ok and the next thing, there's a crash in front. There were a few more crashes after that.

“It's the first day of the Tour and it's not ideal. But there's a long way [to go] and it's just nice to finally start the race.

“It's definitely swings and roundabouts, this race. Guys took time today but who's to say the same doesn't happen to them tomorrow? The guys were good around me today and it's a shame but we'll see how the next days go.”

Sports director Fabio Baldato added: “The good thing is that Richie is not hurt, he is fine. Some leaders are in the front, some leaders with us. Now, we need to go even faster in the team time trial to come back with the leaders who are in front of us.”

Austria

Will Clarke finished 12th of 138 riders in the 152.8-km opening stage of the Tour of Austria in Feldkirch.

The 33-year-old Education First-Drapac team member from Campbell Town sits 13th overall with seven stages remaining of a race in which he won a stage in 2016.

Hobart’s Nathan Earle, 30, came 64th riding for the Israel Cycling Academy.

Earle is competing in his sixth European country this season after previous races in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway and Switzerland.

Italy

West Pine’s Amy Cure, 25, sits second-to-last of the 162 riders in the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile but helped Wiggle High5 teammate Kirsten Wild, of the Netherlands, to victory in the 120.4km second stage to Ovada.

Cure, 25, is 161st with eight stages remaining of  the longest race on the women’s calendar.

Japan

Devonport’s Macey Stewart, 22, and her Australian teammate Kristina Clonan, 20, finished third in the madison at the Japan Cup.

In the city of Izu, the Aussies (160 points) finished behind Canada (200) and US (180).

Stewart raced the Tour of California in May and the Thüringen Ladies Tour in Germany last month.