Froome offering Porte advice

Richie Porte, pictured, is currently second, two minutes 23 seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali (AP)

Richie Porte, pictured, is currently second, two minutes 23 seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali (AP)

First published in National Sport News © by

Chris Froome is sending Richie Porte tactical titbits as the 2013 Tour de France champion bids to help his Team Sky colleague and close friend succeed him in the yellow jersey in Paris.

Froome crashed out of the Tour last Wednesday with a fractured left wrist and right hand, with Australian Porte assuming the leadership of Team Sky.

Porte, the 2013 Paris-Nice champion, sits second on the race's first rest day, two minutes 23 seconds behind leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), ahead of the resumption on Wednesday's 187.5-kilometre 11th stage from Besancon to Oyonnax.

"I got a message from him (Froome) yesterday, just telling me about tactics and the guys sitting on my wheel," Porte said on cyclingweekly.co.uk.

"It's nice to have support from guys like him, obviously. I'll talk to him in the next week or so."

Porte rode into second place as Nibali won Monday's 10th stage at La Planche des Belles Filles, where Froome claimed his first Tour win two years ago.

Team Sky have won the last two Tours - in 2012 Sir Bradley Wiggins triumphed - and Froome has belief in Porte.

"The last thing he (Froome) said to me before he left was that I can have these guys (the opposition), to believe that," Porte added.

"He also told other guys in the team, 'Get around Richie'. You appreciate that.

"Sometimes it seems that Chris has more belief in me than I do in myself. He said before the crash that we could both be on the podium.

"At Paris-Nice last year, I didn't think I was going to have that opportunity, but when I did, I had to take it.

"The Tour's the biggest opportunity of all of them."

Nibali has a commanding lead but nothing can be taken for granted in the 101st Tour, as shown by the premature exits of the two pre-race favourites, Froome and Alberto Contador, who fractured his tibia (shin bone) on Monday.

With the Alps and Pyrenees still to come en route to Paris on July 27, plus the penultimate day's long time-trial, there is plenty of racing still to be done and Porte vowed to attack Nibali.

He added: "He's in a great position and he has a great team that has controlled this race really well.

"We've seen that this Tour throws in surprises everywhere so it's not over until Paris.

"We have to attack him now. It's our race to take to him and I'm sure (Alejandro) Valverde and all these guys coming into the Pyrenees will do...we're going to see some exciting racing."

Movistar's Valverde sits third overall, 2mins 47secs behind Nibali and 24 seconds behind Porte.

The Spaniard played down his aspirations, with the podium his target, but he knows the winner of the race is not yet decided.

"My goal remains the podium at the moment," Valverde said in a Movistar media release.

"Should we be able to gain some time and opt to something else, we won't rule it out, nor stay content with what we got. I feel great, my legs are doing really well.

"We will have stages where anybody can 'collapse' and lose all chances.

"We'll try to attack but always keeping our minds cold - not one of our rivals is weak, and attacking for the sake of attacking is nonsense. We must do it when we can hurt our rivals.

"Nibali? He's not unbeatable, of course, but he's proving to be really strong at the moment.

"We will keep calm. We got through very important and difficult days so far in this Tour and our moment to feel more comfortable on the road and profit from it should come now. Let's hope it happens."

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