If viewed as an electrocardiogram, the profile of a world cycling championship road race would traditionally suggest someone on the point of nodding off.
There might be occasional blips, where said person jolts back into consciousness, perhaps to wipe some slobber from their chin, but nothing too much to get the heart racing.
This year’s road race ECG resembles someone running an ultra-marathon – with an under-dressed Ellyse Perry alongside them for the second half.
World championship road race winners are usually muscle-bound Viking lookalikes, such as Thor Hushovd or Peter Sagan, with a penchant for sprinting and a hatred of hills.
That’s a big motivation to stay off the TobleroneRichie Porte on a tailor-made world championship road race
This year’s course would be as popular with such riders as Donald Trump at a Mexican restaurant.
The 258.5-kilometre course from Kufstein to Innsbruck in the Austrian state of Tyrol features a total of 4670 metres climbing.
That’s just short of the height of Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest peak situated about midway between the end of the course and Richie Porte’s home in Monaco.
If there was one positive to emerge from the Tasmanian’s latest Tour de France misfortune – other than being excused from new-born nappy changing – it was that his crash was not season-ending.
It wasn't the way we wanted to see @richie_porte leave #TDF2018 but we are happy to see a smile back on his face.— BMC Racing Team (@BMCProTeam) July 16, 2018
Before Richie made his way home, we sat down to talk about the crash and his objectives for the rest of the season. Join us in wishing Richie a speedy recovery! pic.twitter.com/hzoSSCOJoD
Unlike the 2017 Tour or 2016 Olympics, Porte’s third successive year of bone-breaking bad luck was not coming to a premature end.
It would have been zero comfort to the 33-year-old a week ago when he sat on a curb near Arras nursing what he instantly knew was a cracked collarbone, but his continued hate-hate relationship with his sport’s biggest race could actually present an opportunity.
Porte’s Tour de France success rate always seems to have been right up there with Spinal Tap drummers.
His podium pushes have been derailed by everything from pneumonia in 2014 and a puncture in 2016 to pandemonium in 2017 when he reset the bar for horrific race-ending crashes.
If every cloud does have a silver lining, maybe this one can be found a kilometre above sea level just north of Patsch.
Maybe it’s apt that a French door should open for someone called Porte. Sorry about that one.
Even before he flew to Europe this year, Porte told The Examiner he was salivating at the prospect of a world championship road race designed for climbers.
“I think there’s about 5000m of climbing and that’s a big motivation to stay off the Toblerone after the Tour and try and target that, but I have a lot of racing in the meantime,” he said.
That racing featured podium finishes in the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse through the same Alpine terrain Porte will face at 9.40am on Sunday, September 30, should he – and Cycling Australia – choose to take that particular autobahn.
Before that, from August 25 to September 16, is the season’s final Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana complete with its nine summit finishes, 40km of individual time trials and a brutal penultimate stage which somehow squeezes 4000 horizontal metres into just 105.8 vertical kilometres.
Porte has only ridden the Vuelta once, in 2012, but it was another race on his radar at the start of the season.
“The Vuelta is not something you can just go and get through. It’s got the most vertical climbing of the three Grand Tours,” he said in January.
“It depends how I come out of the Tour. There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before then.”
If the clavicle cannot cope with a three-week 3271.4km ordeal, Innsbruck could offer Porte the chance for redemption and to add to a proud Tasmanian record at recent world championships.
In 2007 in the German city of Stuttgart, Wes Sulzberger came second to Slovakian Peter Velits in the under-23 road race.
Two years later, Flowery Gully’s finest (sorry Bernie) was a key component to Cadel Evans’ victory.
In 2010 Porte came fourth in the time trial in Geelong.
A year later he was sixth at the same championships in Copenhagen where Launceston’s Matt Goss was a fraction of a second away from adding a road world title to his track equivalent before settling for silver behind Brit Mark Cavendish.
Then in 2013, the Spanish city of Ponferrada bore witness to Tasmanians topping two of the 10 global podiums as Hobart’s Campbell Flakemore won the under-23 time trial and Devonport’s Macey Stewart added the junior equivalent.
Thanks to the width of a Cavendish tyre, Evans remains the only Australian to have won the elite men’s road race at a world championship.
It was on a course almost tailor-made near his home in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
The same could be said of this year’s course for Porte, even if it would require a Hannibal-like effort to walk home.
But if he were to scale the summit, he could celebrate with a certain chocolate bar with an Alpine peak on its logo.