Richie Porte focused on Vuelta a Espana and world championships

Sound preparation: Richie Porte warms up before the third stage of the Tour de France in Cholet before his crash on stage 9. Picture: AP

Sound preparation: Richie Porte warms up before the third stage of the Tour de France in Cholet before his crash on stage 9. Picture: AP

A pragmatic Richie Porte is hoping he can enjoy the same change of fortunes that led close friend Geraint Thomas to this year’s Tour de France title. 

Back on the bike after fracturing his collarbone in another premature Tour exit, the Launceston leader of BMC Racing confirmed he intends to ride both the Vuelta a Espana and the mountainous road race world championships in Austria to complete his season.

But he said watching how Thomas bounced back from two failed Grand Tours to claim this year’s title in Paris had him dreaming of doing exactly the same next year.

Porte and Thomas shared a ride home to Monaco last year after both crashed out of the Tour in Chambery. For the Australian, it was a second successive stage 9 heartbreak while it followed a similar end to his Giro d’Italia for the Welshman.

Recovering with wife Gemma and new-born son Luca, Porte watched his former Sky teammate win this year’s yellow jersey and believes he will be able to do the same at the same age his compatriot Cadel Evans was when he won in 2011.

“What happened this year has left me more motivated for the Tour,” Porte told Cyclingnews. 

“The goal is to get past stage 9 next year.

“It was inspiring to see Geraint win the Tour. I've seen so much of his bad luck first hand and so to see him win the Tour does give you a bit more motivation. 

“We trained together before the Tour and I saw a different Geraint. He was super motivated going into it, I’ve never seen him so switched on. When you know Geraint like I do, it’s not a surprise he finally puts it all together and doesn’t have any bad luck in the race. 

“Cadel won when he was 34 and I'm 34 next year, so I’m just taking it as it comes. I feel I’ve still got years left in me but at end of the day, you get to a point to where the body slows down. That happens to everyone.

“So I suppose it has to be next year or maybe try another Grand Tour the year after. I know I don’t have many more opportunities to go and have a crack at the Tour. Cadel still podiumed in the Giro and the Vuelta after being 34.”

A WorldTour career that has taken him from Saxobank (2010-11) to Sky (2012-15) and BMC (2016-18) is expected to proceed with Trek-Segafredo in 2019.

Before then Porte, who resumed road training as the Tour de France ended, is targeting the Vuelta a Espana beginning on August 25 then both the time trial and road race at world championships in Innsbruck.

“The biggest goal is worlds now,” he said. “A couple of days after the crash, it was nice to get a message from Brad McGee, the Aussie national team selector. He put that thought in my head and that motivated me to get my act together to get back before the season is out.”

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