Porte reeling after two minute time penalty drops him down to twelfth overall

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Team Sky has pledged to fight on after its general classification rider Richie Porte was handed a two minute penalty on Tuesday which could cost him his chance of winning the Giro d’Italia.

The Australian punctured inside the final ten kilometres of the stage to Forli. Stranded without immediate support, he was given a wheel by compatriot Simon Clarke, who competes with the Orica GreenEdge team.

While he lost 43 seconds, this was less than might otherwise be the case, and seemed to keep his hopes of the Maglia Rosa alive.

This show of sportmanship was intially praised by some observers but others pointed out that it was in controvention of UCI rules.

Sure enough, after a period of time the race commissaires referred to rule 12.01.40 8.2, handing the rider a two minute time penalty.

This caused him to slip to 12th place on the general classification, leaving him three minutes and nine seconds behind race leader Contador.

Clarke was also hit with the same penatly, while both riders must pay a fine of 200 Swiss francs.

Clarke reacted to the news on Twitter, expressing regret with how things turned out.

Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford knows that the development is damaging to Porte’s campaign. He insisted the team would fight on.

“It is obviously disappointing that a sporting gesture made in the heat of the moment has resulted in such a strong penalty,” he stated. “No one was trying to gain an unfair advantage.

“This has however just strengthened our resolve and determination to fight for this race. Richie and the whole team are ready to take it on and there is a lot of this Giro left.”

Porte had started the stage third overall, 22 seconds back. Many had expected him to push for pink in the upcoming time trial, Saturday’s 59.4 kilometre race from Treviso to Valdobbiadene.

Instead, he will have to use the solo test as an opportunity to try to recoup some of the lost time.

As could be expected, there has been plenty of discussion on Twitter. Here’s a selection of reactions from riders, journalists and others.

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