Richie Porte sees possible Contador suspension as “a pretty big opportunity”
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Richie Porte sees possible Contador suspension as “a pretty big opportunity”

by Ben Atkins at 5:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Rolf Sørensen sees it as a benefit to Danish cycling

richie porteThe possible ban of Tour de France winner Alberto Contador could be seen as a disaster for his new Saxo Bank-SunGard team. After the loss of Fränk and Andy Schleck to Leopard Trek, the Danish team has concentrated many of its resources towards the Spaniard’s July campaign, which now looks to be in tatters.

The suspension would not be bad for everyone though, as Australian sensation from last year’s Giro d’Italia Richie Porte told the Herald Sun, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I'm not really allowed to say too much because [Contador] obviously has the [opportunity to] appeal … but it's a pretty big opportunity, isn't it?” he said. '”It's sad to see it happen because he is a good guy… But for me personally… This time last year, I was at the bottom of the pile and now I have one of the best teams where I could potentially be the leader for the biggest race in the world.

“I'm not overjoyed by it,” he added. “It's not a nice time for our team, even though he wasn't with the team when it happened. But it's a massive opportunity for me.”

While the loss of Contador would likely make Porte the Saxo Bank-SunGard team’s best chance in the Grand Tours, the Australian who turns 25 years old this coming Sunday insists there will be little added pressure.

“It doesn't really change my path,” he said. “I was always going [to the Tour as] the second guy… ride my race to the point where I had to help Alberto. I always had a bit of a free card for the Tour… I have a lot of improvement and I mean I am improving day by day.”

Porte is not the only person who sees a number of opportunities for other riders in the team if Contador is suspended. Former rider Rolf Sørensen actually sees the Spaniard’s absence as a good thing for Saxo Bank-SunGard’s young Danish riders.

"If you ride [the Tour] with Contador, then the team is very restricted,” he told “It’s just about him going home with the yellow jersey. But if he is not there it’s suddenly a completely different team able to go for stage wins and it gives opportunities to the young Danish talent.”

While he sees it as a plus for the young Danish riders, Sørensen does concede that the Tour de France will be a poorer competition without the Spanish rider.

“Personally I think yes, it is unfortunate for the Tour de France if Alberto Contador is not included,” he said. “As chris anker sorensena spectator, commentator and fan of cycling, it had been completely fantastic to see Contador on Riis' team against Schleck brothers, as people - a bit between the lines - believe they committed mutiny against Riis.

“It's a great contest that I am sorry that we won’t get to see,” he commented considering Contador's worst case scenario.

One young Danish rider that Sørensen singles out as one that could take an opportunity this July is his namesake Chris Anker Sørensen. Until now the 26-year-old has ridden the Tour de France solely in the service of Andy Schleck; the freedom of having no major contender to ride for could give him the opportunity to go for his own prize.

“Chris Anker Sorensen will go after the polka-dot mountains jersey,” he suggested. “It is obviously not the same as winning the Tour de France, but the team must try to turn it into something positive.

“There is more room to learn some things and try some things.”


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