fi’zi:k’s Porte second on Dauphine Prologue

Richie Porte, aboard his fi’zi:k Arione saddle and competing for BMC Racing Team, yesterday powered to second place on the brutal prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné, finishing just 6 seconds behind stage winner Alberto Contador. Though just 3.9km long, the course was all uphill, with gradients tipping over 15% and averaging out at a crazy 9.7%.

‘That last 500m – it was such a hard prologue!’ the Australian exclaimed at the line. ‘I haven’t raced for the good part of a month and a half, and I’ve flown under the radar so much this year. It’s good to be coming into this race with less pressure.’

One man who can never escape the spotlight is Britain’s Chris Froome (fi’zi:k Antares R1 saddle ), especially when the 31-year-old races as strongly as he did during the prologue, finishing third, 13 seconds behind Contador.

‘I’m happy with that,’ Froome commented. ‘It’s a good gauge of how I’ve pulled up after [an altitude training camp in] Tenerife and a long break from racing.’ Froome’s last stage-race outing came at the Tour of Romandie in April, where he won a stage but finished over 21 minutes down on GC. The current Tour de France champion will look for a more consistent performance over the eight-stage Dauphiné, which features three mountain-top finishes.

Elsewhere, Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert (fi’zi:k R1B Uomo shoes and BMC Racing Team) grabbed victory on the final stage of the Tour de Luxembourg, adding to his win on stage two. The result left Gilbert second on GC, 9 seconds behind winner Maurits Lammertink.

And away from the road, fi’zi:k-riding Julien Absalon (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) won a record 31st Cross Country World Cup in La Bresse, France, on Sunday. On home soil – in fact, only 20 minutes from his home – Absalon conquered a muddy course and the competition, beating second-placed Maxime Marotte by a full minute.