Porte feeling strong heading into second Tour de France
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Porte feeling strong heading into second Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 2:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
"I think I'm climbing better than I ever have. My general fitness is much better than it ever has been."

Richie PorteHaving been part of a dominant Sky Procycling team in the Critérium du Dauphiné, Australian rider Richie Porte is heading to his second Tour de France in a confident frame of mind.

While the 27 year old Tasmanian believes he’ll be stronger than last season when he helped Alberto Contador in the Giro d’Italia and then in the Tour de France, running himself down in the process, he also accepts that his primary role in the Tour is to help Bradley Wiggins try to become the first Briton to win the race.

Longer term, he’ll try to do something big himself in the Tour. “Certainly in a few years, that's the goal,” Porte told TheMercury.com.au. "But I guess for the moment it's a good apprenticeship working with guys like the Schlecks, Alberto and Brad; there's big champions in that group.”

Porte made his Grand Tour debut in 2010 when he infiltrated a large breakaway group which gained huge time over the main bunch, went on to wear the Maglia Rosa, and ultimately finished a very solid seventh overall in Milan.

Last year he won stages in the Vuelta a Castilla y León and the Tour of Denmark, and was also sixth in the world road race championship time trial. Then this season he has clocked up a stage win and overall victory in the Volta ao Algarve, fourth overall in both the Tour de Romandie and the Bayern-Rundfarht and ninth in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

He’s taking high placings despite working hard for Wiggins, and this reflects his good form.

"This year I haven't done the Giro so I'm feeling much more fresh,” he explained, speaking about his physical condition heading into the Tour. “I guess I've stepped it up and grown as a rider in the past year and being part of that Sky team when every race we've started (has been) with Brad, he's performed above expectation," he said.

"I think I'm climbing better than I ever have. My time trialling is not quite where it was last year but any benefits I have in the mountains, you pay for it in a long, flat time trial. But that's part of my role in the team to help Brad in the longer, harder climbs. My general fitness is much better than it ever has been."

Porte is prepared to back Wiggins all the way. If the Briton has any issues, he’ll be ready to help another rider such as Chris Froome or, if necessary, to step up himself. The most important thing is that he is feeling strong and ready to race.

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