Richie Porte maintains he has bigger mountains to climb after a disappointing team time trial in the Tour de France.
The Tasmanian's Trek-Segafredo outfit was only able to manage 18th place from 22 teams in the 27.6-kilometre second stage around Brussels, but he reiterated his pre-race mantra that the race will be won in the Alpine peaks not the Belgian flats.
"It's not ideal, but we did a good team time trial there," said the Launceston 34-year-old.
"I think we did a really nice ride and there's still a long way to go.
"We've done the recon and the Pyrenees are always hard but the Alps this year, the last three stages are brutal. The last week is definitely where the race is going to be decided, [but] it's never nice to lose time like that.
"We did a really good ride with what we've got. Obviously we'd like to be around the mark a little bit more, it's not ideal.
"[Team time trialling is] not really my thing - 58kg trying to hold the wheel of those bigger fellas, but I'm not throwing the toys out of the cot just yet, it's a long way to go and the climbing stages are coming up."
The team lost 78 seconds to the stage winners, Jumbo-Visma, and 58 seconds to race favourites Team Ineos.
Porte's sports director Steven De Jongh was less restrained in his verdict.
"We were not fast enough," he told cyclingweekly.com.
"It's a bit annoying to start out like this, but the Tour is long and there will be days where we can get some time back. We calculated we would lose some time today, but not so much, and that's a disappointment."
Porte sits 104th on general classification as the Tour heads south into France.
Seeking to improve on his best finish of fifth from eight previous Tours, Porte said last week that his first real opportunity would come on the sixth stage mountain-top finish on La Planche des Belles Filles.
Also in Belgium, West Pine's Amy Cure said she was delighted to win a race in her second home.
"Somewhat a home race for me," the 26-year-old said on social media after victory in Beveren-Waas, near Antwerp.
"Really wanted to win this one.
"The girls backed me 100 per cent in the sprint finish and put me right where I needed to be.
"Very happy to finish this off for the team."
Cure has contested a series of races across the Benelux region of Europe in the last month.
Earle's road back
Nathan Earle is making progress on the road to recovery from the broken leg he sustained in April.
The 31-year-old Israel Cycling Academy rider required an operation after breaking his femur in a slippery downhill crash during the 193km Gran Premio Miguel Indurain in Spain.
He returned to Hobart to recover but has returned to the saddle and this week posted a 103km training ride through Kingston, Margate and Glenorchy.
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