Clásica San Sebastián: Saxo Bank's Richie Porte confirms his potential once again
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Clásica San Sebastián: Saxo Bank's Richie Porte confirms his potential once again

by Steve Jones at 1:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Clásica de San Sebastián
 
Young Aussie could be Riis' next Grand Tour prodigy

Richie PorteYoung talent Richie Porte confirmed his talent once again with a strong ride in the Clásica San Sebastián.  The 25 year old Australian began to turn heads at the Tour of Romandie this year when he managed to win the time trial ahead of a class field.  He got the best of compatriot and three-time world time trial champion Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and Tour de France podium finisher Denis Menchov (Rabobank).

Porte largely credited his success to Bradley McGee, saying after his win in Romandie, "I've been training with Bradley McGee and have done everything he's said and look what's happened!"

In an interview with Feltet.dk prior to the Giro d'Italia, the humble Tasmanian reacted to being thrown into the ring as one of the favorites for the prologue of the year's first Grand Tour. "It would be a dream! If you had told me last week that I would win the time trial in Romandie, I would never have believed you. I will put up a good fight," he said.

Porte put in a great ride in the first stage of his first Grand Tour with an effort enough for sixth place, just 5 seconds off the pace set by winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).  He kept himself out of trouble during the first half of the race and, after the finish of stage eleven in L'Aquila, managed to wrestle the maglia rosa from Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).  He went on to wear the coveted pink jersey for three days in favor of his white jersey of best young rider.  He ended up holding onto his best young rider lead all the way to Verona, and finished his first three-week race in seventh place overall.

Yesterday's ride into San Sebastián showed Porte could again reach the high level he had attained in May.  His third confirmation could be the one that marks him out to be Bjarne Riis' next Grand Tour prospect in the absence of the brothers Andy and Franck Schleck.

”It's still kind of surreal being in the finale of a ProTour race among the greatest riders in the world in my first season as a full time pro bike rider. Since I changed to Team Saxo Bank, I have become a different and much better rider and today's result only confirms that I'm ready for the Tour of Denmark where I'm looking forward to helping Jakob (Fuglsang) to another overall victory,” Porte said after the race.

Porte finished tenth in San Sebastián yesterday as part of a select, six-man chase group that was riding for fifth place.  The break finished just 37 seconds behind race winner Luis León Sánchez.  Teammate Chris Anker Sørensen finished in thirteenth place as part of the next group on the road, with both riders giving the team a solid indication of their bright futures.

"Our riders all demonstrated great shape today and we are now looking forward to participating in Tour of Denmark with a peak shape line-up," sports director Dan Frost said after the race.  "Unfortunately, Andy (Schleck) abandoned today's race because of pain in his Achilles tendon, but he should be ready to keep on training from tomorrow."

Riis' young talents look to be maturing just in time to help fill the void that will be left when the Schelcks to head off to a new team out of Luxembourg next year.

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