RICHIE Porte has dedicated the biggest win of his cycling career to his former Tasmanian rival Will Robinson.
Just days after becoming the first Australian to win the prestigious Paris-Nice stage race, Porte explained how his discomfort with the event dated back to the death of his friend three years ago.
"It was just before the start of Paris-Nice in 2010 that I received a text telling me Will had been killed so I always think of him when I line up for the event," Porte said from Monaco yesterday.
"After you win it, a million things go through your mind but obviously Will was prominent.
"I once told his parents when I have my first big win I would dedicate it to Will and that's what I did when I crossed the line."
Asked about his relationship with Prospect's Burnie Wheel winner, who died in a training accident near Cradle Mountain in March 2010, Porte said: "To start with we were quite fierce competitors, racing together in events like the Tamar Valley Classic.
"When I was starting out with Praties we had a few scraps on the bike but they were never enough to ruin our friendship."
Reflecting on his wins in two stages and general classification in the week- long 1174-kilometre tour, the Hadspen 28-year-old agreed with his former Tasmanian coach Andrew Christie-Johnston that it could not have come at a better time, with his Team Sky contract due up for renegotiation.
"To win is great but to get two stages on top of that is a dream," Porte said.
"It's one of the monuments in cycling. It is a big thing and probably still hasn't sunk in yet.
"It was stressful but, hey, I won Paris-Nice so it was worth it."
Porte said he was in the process of discussing his future with Sky's general manager Dave Brailsford.
"He said `you'll win a grand tour one day', which showed his faith in me but I'm up for contract this year so it's not a bad thing for me to have won this year.
"I'd like to get that sorted sooner rather than later and we're in that process."
Asked whether his priorities were leadership, job satisfaction or money, Porte replied: "It's got to be a bit of all of those. Other teams will offer more money to go and ride for them but I'm happy where I am and it's not all about money. There's got to be passion in your team.
"To be honest, Sky was the only team in Paris-Nice that could control the race. When BMC start attacking on major descents it's a sign of desperation.
"An offer of a leadership role would be tempting. There are 19 (World Tour) teams and I don't think there are 19 guys that could beat me in the Tour de France but Sky have two that could. So it would be silly not to explore all possibilities."