Jayco Herald Sun Tour: Porte says he’ll support Cooke in five day contest
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jayco Herald Sun Tour: Porte says he’ll support Cooke in five day contest

by VeloNation Press at 6:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Meyer wants to emulate Gerrans and take Australia’s two top stage races

Richie PorteAlthough Richie Porte’s palmares proves that the Australian is a very strong stage race rider, the former Giro d’Italia race leader has said he’ll back Saxo Bank SunGard team-mate Baden Cooke (pictured) in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour rather than aim to win himself.

“It’s nice to be in Australia and would be nice to have some good form, which I don’t have, but it’s the last race with the team and would be nice to go out on a winning way,” Porte explained at today’s official launch, coming one day prior to tomorrow’s opening stage.

“I’m here to work. Baden basically started my career, last year he was my wing-man during the Giro d’Italia and I’d love to be able to able to do something to help him. Then we’ve got Dave Tanner, who is a realistic general classification chance and the two Danish guys as well as Luke Roberts, everyone knows his class.”

Porte has had a draining season, backing Alberto Contador in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, as well as other events. Despite that workload, he’s also been able to pick up strong results for himself, including victory on stage five of the Tour of Denmark.

Cooke has shown good form of late, netting runner-up slots in both Paris – Bourges and the Binche - Tournai - Binche / Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke. “I feel very rejuvenated with SaxoBank,” he said. “I feel honoured for being in such an important team.”

He, Porte and the others on the squad will be up against a strong field, though, including competitors from UCI ProTeams HTC Highroad, Omega Pharma Lotto and Garmin-Cervélo. The latter includes Heinrich Haussler, who picked up his first win in many months when he took a stage of last week’s Tour of Beijing.

Also on the squad are national road race champion Jack Bobridge, the previous year’s champ Travis Meyer, Olympic gold medal winner Brett Lancaster and Santos Tour Down Under winner Cameron Meyer. The latter sounded motivated at the launch, being keen to perform well prior to taking a break from the bike.

“This is my first at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and I’m really looking forward to it. It is my last race of the season and I’m glad to be back home in Australia,” he stated. “A lot of good sprinters have come to the race, like Heinrich and (Marcel) Kittel. Those two will be going after the stage victories.

“I’ve heard a little bit about the race. It should tough, particularly if the wind picks up along the Great Ocean Road and we’ve all got to be careful we don’t lose time. Obviously everyone will be targeting the Arthur’s Seat stage, but the race could be won anywhere.”

He has a nice target, namely that of emulating another big Australian rider. “I’ve read that Simon Gerrans is the only rider to win both the Tour Down Under and the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in the same year. If I can get through the first three stages unscathed, then I’ll be giving it a red hot chance.

“I think SaxoBank will be around the mark. They have a lot of strong riders, like Baden, Richie and David Tanner in his home state. They’ll definitely be the team to watch in a pretty open field,” Meyer said.

Back after a one year absence from the calendar, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour will begin tomorrow with a 174 kilometre Whittlesea to Ballarat stage. Other finishes follow at Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula, the climb of Arthur’s Seat and in Melbourne.


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