Richie Porte tackles stories which suggest he has "missed his window" or is "closer to the end of his career than the beginning" with the same disdain he reserves for 20 per cent climbs.
"A lot of journalists just have their opinion but who are they to judge us when none of them have a clue what they are talking about?" he said.
"I'm 34 and I still enjoy working hard and riding my bike."
The passion remains but with a young family in tow and more than a decade of experience at the elite level, the Launceston cyclist wouldn't be human if he wasn't a bit cynical about the sport.
MORE CYCLING:Porte calls for Stan Siejka Classic reboot
And as he embarks on his second season with a fourth different WorldTour team, Porte has clearly defined goals for 2020 ranging from his annual tussles with Willunga Hill and the Tour de France to some unfinished business at the Olympic Games.
"It has become a bit of a job now," he admitted.
"When it's raining outside on a Sunday morning, maybe I'm not quite as motivated to jump on the bike for seven hours. When you have a child, there's a lot of things you don't want to miss out on.
"I want to spend more time at home, that's probably a bigger change for me than my age.
"Sometimes when you wake up you just want to do the simple things with [son] Luca and [wife] Gemma instead of being out the door before they wake up.
"I actually think it's exciting that I don't have as many years in front as behind before I can have a normal life, but at the moment it's still a privilege to ride a bike for a living."
In a revealing interview, Porte, who turns 35 on January 30, opens up about Trek-Segafredo, the arrival of Vincenzo Nibali and his hopes for Tokyo 2020.
PORTE SETS 2020 GOALS
Richie Porte's 2020 campaign looks set to be defined by two old faithfuls and one virtual unknown.
He will begin with his attempt to win the Tour Down Under's Willunga Hill stage for a seventh year running and build up to his annual arm wrestle with the Tour de France but hopes to finish by rekindling a relationship with the Olympic Games.
Selected to lead the Australian road race team at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Porte arrived fresh from a fifth place at the Tour de France and was in contention for a top-10 finish when he crashed heavily on a steep Rio descent and broke his scapula.
Far from putting him off the Five Ring experience, the incident has left the 34-year-old with a feeling of unfinished business.
"This is an Olympic year and I want to be on the start line in Tokyo. That's a pretty big motivation for me," he said when looking ahead to 2020.
"Rio was the start of three bad years of crashing so I did not enjoy the last Olympic experience but Tokyo will be a totally different race and I'd love to be there for Australia.
"It's a pretty tough course and you never know how Australian selectors will play it."
Porte is in the second of his two-year contract with Trek-Segafredo, having previously ridden for Saxobank (2010-11), Sky (2012-15) and BMC (2016-18) in the WorldTour.
He said an 11th-placed finish in Paris was "not what I came for" and what will be his 10th Tour de France will again dominate his season as he prepares for a changing team dynamic following the arrival of three-time Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
"It was a disappointing season to be honest what with getting sick and having training camps in Utah where we were just stuck inside on home trainers.
"The first year of a new team is always hard to adapt as they get to know you too.
"The fact that they let me come back to Tassie in early November and I did not have to go back to Europe for camps made it easier, especially with a young family, and one thing I'll change next year will be I want to be in Monaco more than I was this year.
"For me, I know when I come back to Tassie I'm going to be going round Scottsdale most days and it's the same in Monaco. It's easier to be at home in a familiar environment. I'm probably too old to change now."
Porte expects to contest the Tour with Dutchman Bauke Mollema, following traditional lead-in races like Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine, while Nibali will focus on his home-country Giro d'Italia.
"I've met Vincenzo a few times and we've always had a decent relationship even though we were on different teams. He's not a bad guy.
"We were on the same amateur team in Italy and were living in the same town and all the climbs had Nibali written on them."
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