Richie Porte reflects on his Tour de France crash

Down and out: Richie Porte has spoken out about the dangers of the course in this year's Tour de France. Picture: Getty Images
Down and out: Richie Porte has spoken out about the dangers of the course in this year's Tour de France. Picture: Getty Images

Richie Porte believes Tour de France organisers need to take a share of responsibility for the horrific crash which ended his race and left him in hospital.

Speaking openly about Sunday’s accident for the first time on Friday, the Tasmanian told The Examiner the treacherous Mont du Chat descent had caused widespread concern among the riders

“Every rider in the peloton was questioning the safety of that descent and organisers do need to have a look at that,” Porte said.

“If they had a son in the race would they be happy to sit and watch that son go down that descent? I think that’s a pretty valid question.

“They go for a spectacle, but I’d rather be able to walk around.”

Read more: Bid on a Richie Porte print: all proceeds go to the Winter Relief Appeal

The 32-year-old Launceston rider, who was BMC’s team leader at the Tour and was in fifth place when the crash happened on stage 9 into Chambery, said he felt this year’s Tour course was “a joke”.

“For me growing up as a big cycling fan, I prefer to watch a race where they finish at the top [of the mountain]. I don’t see why they have to put such a dangerous descent in. Do we really need that if it’s avoidable?

“Hopefully next year they can have a route that suits my ability. This year was not a great course for me with [only] three hill-top finishes and two short time trials.

“It was a bit of a joke of a course. It was not really a traditional Tour de France and I don’t really think they got it right.”

Porte spoke from his Monaco home where he is in a wheelchair recovering from a broken pelvis and collarbone and multiple abrasions.

He is well aware how fortunate he was to escape a crash in which his bike computer clocked him at 78km/h when he hit the bitumen.

Every rider in the peloton was questioning the safety of that descent

Richie Porte

“From the hospital in Chambery to here in Monaco every doctor and nurse has told me ‘you need to buy a lotto ticket – for the crash you had, the injuries you’ve got, you really came out of it well’,” Porte said.

“It’s easy for a doctor to say that but it feels like my body is on fire with the amount of skin I've lost. The injuries are going to take some time to heal up.”

Describing his situation as “painful and depressing”, Porte said he felt “terrible” for bringing down Irish rival Dan Martin in a crash which shocked even seasoned cycling observers.

“It’s definitely the scariest lead-in I’ve had because we were going super quick,” he said.

“It would be the worst crash I’ve had and hopefully the worst I do have.”

Eleven months after his 2016 season was brought to a premature end by a similar crash at the Rio Olympics, Porte was confident the accidents will not affect his ability to descend.

Tipping former teammate Chris Froome to claim a fourth title in this year’s race, Porte said the success of his 2017 race program would suggest following a similar template next season. 

He plans to spend three weeks recovering in Monaco before flying to Utah to continue his rehabilitation with BMC team doctors.

Porte said he wants to return home to Tasmania for Christmas because he is keen to join a charity ride around the state run by former Test cricket captain Steve Waugh, and is missing his parents’ dog.