Porte says he’ll leave Team Sky when his contract is up, wants chance at personal glory
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Porte says he’ll leave Team Sky when his contract is up, wants chance at personal glory

by VeloNation Press at 5:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“As much as I love being there and being the wingman, it's not what I always want to do”

Richie PorteAlthough he renewed with Team Sky last August and is set to race there until the end of 2015, Richie Porte has said that he will strike out with a different team then in order to have the personal freedom to target his own races.

The Australian will be thirty years of age when his contract ends, although he will turn 31 a month afterwards. With peak Tour de France performances occurring in the late twenties and early thirties, that still gives him time to try to win the sport’s biggest race. Until then, he knows that he will almost certainly have to back this year’s winner.

“I think Chris Froome is the rider of this generation. I think he's going to win more than one Tour and it's unrealistic of me, in a British team, when he's got a British passport (to assume control),” Porte told the Herald Sun.

“To be honest, it's going to be hard to beat Chris, but in another team who knows?”

Porte could in theory be a perfect fit for the Australian equivalent of Team Sky, namely Orica GreenEdge. The WorldTour team was set up with the initial focus of targeting sprint wins in stage races plus single day events. It accepted that the overall classification in Grand Tours was not realistic straight off, but made clear that it was a long term goal.

Australia’s only Tour de France winner Cadel Evans has one year left to run on his contract with the BMC Racing Team. However even if he moves there for the 2015 season, he will turn 38 in February of that year. As a result it is very unlikely that he would be Orica GreenEdge’s candidate to win its first three week race.

Instead, if he is signed up to the team for that season, he could take up a role of road captain and to help another rider to come through as a Grand Tour contender.

Of the Australian’s currently racing, Porte is the one which stands out as the best prospect for Orica GreenEdge. He’s yet to win a Grand Tour, but will lead Team Sky at the next Giro d’Italia and hopes to take the pink jersey to the finish.

Whether or not that works out in 2014, he appears to be getting close to the point where he wants more freedom.

“As much as I love being there and being the wingman, it's not what I always want to do,” he explained.

“I've shown by winning Paris-Nice and coming second in the Dauphine and Basque, they're pretty big races in the sport. I think the next move for me is two more years at Sky, but then I really think I need to get out and ride in a team where I'll be the leader.

“I think I do have the qualities to be a contender. I mean, I can climb and time trial and hold my own in the descents too. The ultimate GC rider has to be good at everything.”

Porte said that being up there in the Tour with Froome and Alberto Contador on mountain stages prompted him to start thinking about having his own chances in the future. He’ll be able to do that to some extent in the Giro d’Italia, where he hopes to become the first-ever Australian winner, but longer term he knows that the Tour de France is the big goal he must chase.

To do that he’ll have to take a diverging path from Froome and Team Sky; time will tell whether or not it’s Orica GreenEdge, but once the second half of 2015 arrives, he’ll be on the market and open to offers.

If things go to plan before then, he’ll perhaps have another three week race to his name, and will have proven he can contend for the biggest prize in the sport.

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