Tasmanian cycling star Richie Porte has never won a Stan Siejka Launceston Classic and with limited preparation so far for the upcoming season knows he won’t be in a position to break his drought on Sunday.
The BMC Tour de France rider has only been back on the bike for two weeks since recovering from his Olympic road race crash in August.
“I’m excited and motivated as I can be to be back in Tasmania and racing on home roads,” Porte said.
“My parents and my brothers will be here to support me and even though I race in Europe the main fan base is probably here in Launceston so it would be a special victory but I don’t see that happening.”
With Matt Goss and Bernie and Wes Sulzberger using the Launceston Classic as a farewell event to thank their hometown supporters on retirement, Porte said it meant a lot to him to take part in their final race.
"They are my friends as well as colleagues so to have them retiring and then Will Clarke stepping back up to world tour next year, I think it is a bitter-sweet moment for Tasmanian cycling,” he said.
“I’ve had a little bit of bad luck along the way this year but I think it is motivating for next year – the Tour de France for me is a big goal so with the backing of the BMC Racing Team I am really looking forward to starting it off in the Stan Siejka criterium.
“Obviously for me growing up in Launceston – I came and watched this race with the likes of Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans here as well. And for me Stan Siejka was a good friend so it is always nice to come back and race on your home streets.”
Porte is home from a European winter to train on home roads including the infamous Scottsdale loop to put in the base miles needed for races like the Tour and plans to compete in the Tour Down Under in the new year. “I’ve put a fair bit of weight on and it is hard to try to rip that off now but three months after the Olympics I am healthy again and that’s the main thing – there are no long-lasting injuries.”
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