Porte almost certain to ride to Santos Tour Down Under, wants to show well in race
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Sunday, December 01, 2013

Porte almost certain to ride to Santos Tour Down Under, wants to show well in race

by VeloNation Press at 8:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Australian getting stage race campaign underway early in order to hit peak form for Giro d’Italia

Richie PorteHaving set the Giro d’Italia as his big personal season goal, Richie Porte has decided to get his 2014 season off to an early start, thus boosting his chances of hitting peak sharpness by May.

While Porte began racing last year with the national championship time trial and road race, his next event – and first stage race - wasn’t until the Tour of Oman, which ran between February 11th and 16th.

This time round, it looks like he will do the Santos Tour Down Under, competing in the race for the first time since 2011. The programme begins with the People’s Choice Classic on January 19th, then continues with the race proper between January 21st and 26th.

It means a busier opening month for Porte, something which he hopes will put him in top shape for the Giro. The 28 year old is regarded as one of the riders in contention for the overall title.

“'I'm 99 per cent sure I will race in it,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald, referring to the WorldTour stage race. “It's an important event, especially with the Giro only coming four months after. If I am in it, I won't be there to just make up the numbers. It's the first tour of the year.”

Porte’s best finish in a Grand Tour was also in the Giro d’Italia; he was seventh in the 2010 race. He finished nineteenth in last year’s Tour de France, but sacrificed chances of a higher finish by riding for team-mate Chris Froome.

However his performances in other events show that he has the potential for a top ride over three weeks; he won Paris-Nice [see video below], netting stages five and seven as well, then went on to finish second overall in the Critérium International, in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The Santos Tour Down Under is the first real chance he will have to see how his form is after the off season months. He’ll go head to head there with compatriot Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), who is basing his whole year around the Giro.

“'I will want to see where I'm at … and we will have a good team; but it won't just be [me] and Cadel,” he said. “You'll see riders like [previous winner] Simon Gerrans and Orica-GreenEDGE up for it. It will be their race to lose in many ways.”

The race begins with a 135 kilometre race between Nuriootpa and Angaston and concludes on January 26th with a 85.5 kilometre street race in Adelaide.
 

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