This Giro d’Italia is the 17th and final Grand Tour of Porte’s career. The teams have changed over the years, and so have the circumstances, but the demands the mountain makes of the man remain the same. A Beckettian line of thinking tends to take hold when the gradient starts to bite: You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

On the Blockhaus last Sunday, Porte produced a searing effort on behalf of his Ineos Grenadiers leader Richard Carapaz. He pared the front group down to the quick and teed up the Ecuadorian’s acceleration before eventually swinging off with a touch over 4.5km to go, nothing more left to give. Porte wore a smile when he wheeled to a halt at the summit, but it was hard to say it was out of satisfaction at a job well done or out of relief that this was all nearly over.

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