January 23, 2018 Comments Off on Richie Porte almost wins Tour Down Under
Cycling superstar Richie Porte pulled off another devastating near-win at the 2018 Tour Down Under, where he wowed the hometown crowd with another stunning second place at one of the world’s premier stage races.
“Almost won that baby!” Porte said as he gleefully smacked his palm after the race. Porte executed an impressive victory on the queen stage, mastering the dreaded Willunga Hill climb, then watched as Daryl Impey secured the overall on the following day. “Can’t win ’em all,” Porte said with typical Australian good cheer as he congratulated the victor.
Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Richie after his fantastic second place finish at the TdU to talk about his impressive career and his plans for 2018.
CitSB: Pretty awesome second place today, here on your home Australian turf.
RP: Yeah, it feels pretty good, almost as good as when I got second behind Hernao at the Tour of the Basque Country in 2013. That was an amazing day.
CitSB: Brings back memories?
RP: Oh, yeah, mate. I’d just taken the fifth stage, a real beast, from Eibar to Beasain and was six seconds down on Hernao, my teammate.
CitSB: Then what happened?
RP: Oh, I crushed it on the last day and took second overall. It was incredible. An incredible feeling.
CitSB: You were so aggressive on Willunga two days ago, I think the pundits had you down for the overall.
RP (laughs): What do they know? Y’know, 2013 was a great year for me. Second overall at the Critérium International, second overall at the Dauphiné, and second at the Basque Country. Seems like only yesterday!
CitSB: There are a lot of people on the inside of the sport who have you picked as as once-in-a-generation talent.
RP: I don’t know about that, but I’ve always said that anything worth doing is worth almost winning. I’d say 2013 was my breakout year for nearly getting the overall, but I had that second placing in 2014 at the Vuelta a Andalucia, kind of confirmed the previous year, you know?
CitSB: Yes, it really did.
RP: And then in 2015 I was the runner-up at the Tour Down Under; my first time to achieve a near win at our biggest domestic race. The fans were incredible!
CitSB: Yes, I remember. The hometown crowd was thrilled to see you come so close to winning!
RP: Right? Then the following year, in 2016, well it was kind of like a dream, y’know? I almost won the Tour Down Under again, twice in a row! Then I came within a few seconds of first place in the Aussie National Time Trial Championships. It was a giddy year!
CitSB: Almost winning year in and year out is tough to do. And then the way you stormed to second in 2017 at the Critérium du Dauphiné, again.
RP: The toughest, really.
CitSB: Let’s talk about the Tour.
RP: ‘Ave a go, mate.
CitSB: You’ve yet to stand on the second place on the Tour podium yet.
RP: Not for want o’ trying, mate. Not for want o’ trying.
CitSB: Your fans had you pegged for second in 2017 after finishing fifth in 2016. What happened?
RP: I think it’s clear that I could have nearly won the Tour in 2015 if I hadn’t been working for Froomey. Then in 2016 when I was the team leader I think it was pretty clear that I could have almost won if I’d had more support from my teammates, they were doin’ a bit too much ass scratchin’ when they should have been punching the clock, y’know? And it was pretty much guaranteed that I’d nearly have been the winner last if I hadn’t crashed out. That course was a bit of a joke.
CitSB: It was?
CitSB: Any predictions for 2018?
RP: I’m targeting the Giro; I think a next-to-the-top-step is very realistic given where my training is right now, then carry the form over to the Tour.
CitSB: And finally nail down that coveted placing that no one ever remembers?
RP (giant smile): That’s the plan, mate.
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About SouthBayCycling.com: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.
May 26, 2015 § 16 Comments
Team Sky leader Richie Porte retired from the Giro d’Italia today and offered journalists a personal tour around the customized motorhome that will drive him from Italy to his home in Tasmania, where he plans to take a well deserved rest from two grueling weeks of racing. As he piloted the posh Mercedes-Benz Panzer IV Kustom around the docks of Naples, Cycling in the South Bay took a moment to talk with him.
Cycling in the South Bay: So, what are you doing here in Naples?
Richie Porte: Well, I retired from the Giro today and am headed back home to Tasmania.
CitSB: But why Naples?
RP: Oh, I’m just looking for the bridge. It’s got be around here somewhere.
CitSB: The bridge?
RP: To Tasmania, mate. This thing don’t float, y’know.
CitSB: Right. So, what happened in the Giro?
RP: Well, this is a pretty cool motorhome, eh?
CitSB: It’s incredible. Really first class.
RP: That’s what you gotta have when you’re the team leader, mate.
CitSB: But there’s still another week left in the Giro, and the queen stage on the Motirolo is tomorrow, and, well, with the 27 minutes you lost yesterday, plus the four minutes in the TT and the two minutes with the wheel change and the other two minutes with the crash, you’re not really the team leader anymore, are you? Especially since you’ve, you know, quit.
RP: Oh, right, that. Hey check out this espresso machine. Soy out of this spigot, steamed milk here, whipped cream over here. Pretty cool, eh?
CitSB: Yes, it’s awesome. So what happened? Before the race when you were offering tours of the motorhome, there was criticism that you should be staying in a hotel like your teammates.
RP: Right? Hey, when you take a leak in the john be sure to gel your hands with that antibiotic cream. I don’t want to get sick, eh?
CitSB: Do you think being isolated from the team hurt you?
RP: I don’t think so, not at all. It was the team’s idea anyway, not mine.
CitSB: Really? Why did they want you to sleep out in the parking lot instead of in the hotel?
RP: Oh, it’s a little thing I’ve had since I was a wee ‘un.
CitSB: What’s that?
RP: It’s nothing really, just a bit of a bed wetting habit I’ve had for a while, since I was three, actually.
CitSB: And how did that affect the team’s decision to put you in a bus in the parking lot?
RP: Well, we sleep in bunks in the hotel, and since I’m the team leader I always get the top bunk. So y’know, the blighter down below gets rained on all night.
CitSB: That sounds pretty grim.
RP: Oh, it was. It was even worse when I rode for Saxo Bank and had to bunk with Sven Gunderhausen. He was a bedwetter too, and Bjarne was always trying to cure us of it, so one night he’d put me in the top bunk and the next night he’d put Sven in the top bunk, so one of us or the other was always getting a bit of a golden shower.
RP: Yeah, finally we took to sleeping in full rain gear, but on Sky it was just me, so the team voted for the motorhome. Hey, check this out.
CitSB: What is it?
RP: It’s an automatic wet wipes dispenser with a little reservoir here for baby powder you can put on your bum after you get wet.
CitSB: These motorhomes have everything.
RP: Yeah, they really do.
CitSB: Except for a pink jersey. This one doesn’t seem to have one of those.
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March 16, 2014 § 21 Comments
Richie Porte, the leader for Team Sky at Tirenno-Adriatico, expressed surprise today that his race tactics did not result in a stage win atop the climb to Selvarotonda. “I was on the front for most of the climb,” said Porte, in disbelief. “I was killing those guys.”
Alberto Contador, winner of the day’s stage, couldn’t explain the result either. “You know, Richie was up there on the front of the group, just drilling it really hard into a huge headwind up a very long and challenging climb. It’s hard to understand how he didn’t win.” Contador was seen shortly after the interview high-fiving his teammates on the bus and grinning slyly at his team director.
Overall leader Michal Kwiatkowski, who finished the stage with what analysts believe is an unsurmountable 34-second lead over Porte, was also at a loss to explain the outcome. “Richie was favored to win the race, and on the decisive climbing stage we were all sure he would win, the way he sat very impressively on the front for such a long time into such a bitter headwind with no teammates to help him and all of us in the leader’s group on his wheel like that. But somehow he lost.”
Second-place finisher Nairo Quintana was likewise mystified by Porte’s failure to win the stage and take control of the race despite his clever tactical riding. “We were all telling him, you know, ‘Wow, Richie, you’re killing us, dude,’ and ‘I’m cracking, I can barely hang on,’ and stuff like that, but then somehow just towards the end we all felt better and were able to pass him and put a lot of time on him. It’s weird. He was riding so strong and we were all so, how you say, in the box of hurt?”
Porte concurred with Quintana’s analysis. “It’s fuggin’ weird. Every time I looked back they had these faces that were filled with pain, awful grimaces, you know? And their shoulders were drooping and they were making loud breathing noises. I had ’em, I had ’em, I swear. Then, poof! We get about one kilometer out and suddenly everybody takes off and there I was, even though I’d done all the work, I couldn’t go with them. After pulling them up the climb like that you would have thought that they would at least have waited for me,” Porte added with a slight show of frustration. “It’s almost like they were playing me. If we weren’t all such good pals, I don’t know.”
Teammate Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins was nonetheless upbeat at Porte’s chances on Sunday’s last mountain stage. “He’ll just have to hammer from the gun,” said Wiggo. “Tire ’em out from the start, maybe take a little breather if he can, and then go right back to the front and drop the hammer on the climb. Ride ’em off ‘is wheel. That’s the ticket, just like it was a triathlon, full fuggin’ gas from the get-go. They won’t know what hit ’em, especially at the end when they hit the Muro di Guardiagrele with its 30% ramp.”
After the award ceremony, the top finishers congratulated Porte on his outstanding ride, saying “You were a beast,” and “I hope you don’t hammer us like that tomorrow. We won’t stand a chance!”
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July 15, 2013 § 40 Comments
Tour de France leader Chris Froome of Team Sky has admitted his frustration at constant questions about doping, according to the BBC. Froome extended his advantage with a stunning ride on Sunday but faced more doping questions on Monday’s rest day.
Continued Froome: “This whole thing makes me sad. Really, incredibly, terribly, horribly, agonizingly sad. The sadness of being called a doper and a cheat and a liar and a fraud is so saddening, you have no idea. I’m just so sad. Sad. I’ve half a mind to leave the Tour, I’m so sad.”
Team boss David Brailsford hustled a visibly shaken and sobbing Froome off to the “Froome Wagon” before addressing reporters. “These doping questions make me sad, too, maybe even sadder than Chris. At least he got to win the stage. I have to stay back in the team bus washing dirty chamois and cleaning the insides of water bottles with those long spiky brushes that get the crud off the edges on the bottom but leave little bits on the very flat part. When is someone going to invent a bottle brush just for cycling water bottles? But it’s really sad, anyway. I’m so sad I don’t know what else to say.”
Richie Porte, the faithful domestique who blew up the field in a hard-charging effort reminiscent of the days when 200-lb. George Hincapie won stages normally reserved for 125-lb. veggie mites, was also sad. “Chris is sad? Dave is sad? What about me? I’m sad, too! A little bit pissed, but sad at the same time, kind of like when I used to get beaten up by my big brother. This whole thing is sad.”
Tubs McGillicuddy, the bus driver, although not visibly sad, spoke to the press about the sadness of others who weren’t necessarily there but who were likely sad as well. “Y’wanna talk about sad, d’ye? How’s about ol’ Wiggster? He’s the saddest of ’em all. He’s sadder ‘n a sad sack. Sadder than a sack ‘o shit tossed out th’ window of a fast-movin’ train, I say. Aye, he’s one sad puppy an’ I ‘low we oughta take a minute of quiet time to be sad on ‘is behalf. ‘Tis a sad day, to be sure.”
Froome stuck his head out of the bus window and added, “My team-mates and I have been away from home for months training together and working hard to get here, we’ve slept on volcanoes to get ready for this, and here I am accused of being a cheat and a liar. That’s not cool. It makes us all sad. This is a sad day. We should be cheerful and happy but we’re not. We’re sad. So if you want us to be happy, please stop asking us questions designed to make us sad.”