Richie Porte's eyes 2018 return after Tour de France crash

COMEBACK TRAIL: Richie Porte leads Dan Martin during stage five of the Tour de France before he crashed out at high speed on Sunday, fracturing his collarbone and pelvis. Picture: Getty Images
COMEBACK TRAIL: Richie Porte leads Dan Martin during stage five of the Tour de France before he crashed out at high speed on Sunday, fracturing his collarbone and pelvis. Picture: Getty Images

 The rehabilitation of Richie Porte from a fractured collarbone and pelvis sustained in a horrific high-speed crash that ended his Tour de France on Sunday is aimed at preparing the Australian rider for a full return to racing next season rather than for any remaining major events this year.

While it is still possible Porte may race again in 2017  it would be more to reacquaint him with the feel of the peloton rather than any expectation of top results. 

On Tuesday, Jim Ochowicz, the general manager of Porte's BMC Racing Team, reaffirmed that the rider will not be pushed on his return.

Ochowicz also confirmed that Porte, who could be back on the bike after four or six weeks, would not race in cycling's third grand tour, the Vuelta a Espana in August-September.

"We have to think longer term. We are into next year with him, now. Everything we are doing with him now is [about] next year," said Ochowicz, adding when asked if that meant this year's three-week Vuelta would not be planned: "No, no, no. [racing is] not possible There are no plans right now."

Porte, 32, left the hospital in Chambery on Tuesday morning and was transported by ambulance back to his European base in Monaco where he lives with his wife, Gemma.

Asked if Porte's rehabilitation program would also take into account the potential psychological impact from the crash, Ochowicz replied: "I don't want to get too far ahead with that sort of thing. Everybody has incidents that require more than just physical training, [but] also mental training; whether you are a guy like Richie or Froome, a descender taking risks now and then, or a sprinter [who] has to take risks. And in that risk-taking process accidents happen.

"You have to get up, dust yourself and try it again.

"It does take a little help. You do need help to do that …some people do. But it's too early to tell ... He is not going to ride a race like this for the rest of the year. If he comes back, does some racing it is never going to be as extreme as it was on that descent or that whole day … the best riders in the world after this [Tour] aren't riding together again."

While Ochowicz did not rule out the prospect of Porte racing again this season, he said anything he does after recovering from his injuries will be with the 2018 season in mind.

"We will get him back on his bike sometime this year and in the winter camps," Ochowicz said. "It's a slow process to get started again. What if he did the same thing he did this year: Tour Down Under, Paris-Nice and then Tour de Romandie.

"By the time he gets to this race again he will have done 15, 20 or 30 really good bike races with good competition, up and down the hills, and that sort of thing … You build your condition, you build your mental condition as well as you start to race again, and start to get in there again then you figure out, 'All right, I can do this. This is not a problem'."