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Richie Porte aims for 2017 return at Tour of Britain and World Championships

Joe Robinson
31 Jul 2017

After horrific crash at Tour de France, Richie Porte aims for return at Tour of Britain at September's Tour of Britain

Richie Porte's crash on the descent of the Mont du Chat on Stage 9 of the Tour de France was pretty sobering. Initially, it looked very bad, and Porte was lucky to escape with only fractures to his pelvis and clavicle. 

Anybody who watched that crash live would have suspected that Porte would not be racing again this year. 

However, in an interview with Cyclist, Porte revealed that he wants to be back racing before the end of the season, with the World Championships Time Trial and Tour of Britain as his goals. 

Return for Tour of Britain 

Having been home for a couple of weeks, Porte is already back on his feet walking, without crutches, and aims to be back training within the next fortnight.  

Whilst initial results suggested the 32-year-old Australian would be off the bike for over a month, subsuquent tests by the team medical staff suggest Porte could be back much sooner than first thought. 

With his recovery slow, but faster than expected, Porte has set both the Tour of Britain and World Championships as targets. 

'I am alright, I can get around on crutches and I am at thepoint where I can walk,' adding 'I have another X-ray tomorrow but I should be back on the trainer in about 10 days.'

'The team want me to race this season. They want me to ride a few one days races but we will have to see. I would actually like to race the Tour of Britain but who knows.' 

With Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) also aiming for injury returns at this year's Tour of Britain, it could prove that the Tour's loss is Britain's gain. 

Beyond the Tour of Britain, the BMC man is also considering racing the World Time Trial Championships in Bergen, Norway. The 31km course finishes with an ascent of Mount Fløyen. At 3.4km with an average gradient of 9.1%, the course certainly lends itself to someone with the climbing ability of Porte. 

'I had a meeting with Australian cycling a few weeks ago and they said the time trial course suits me.'

'It's a carrot for me to work towards but I feel like I've lost far too much from.'

Porte's thoughts on the Tour 

After having crashed from the race, Porte had to watch the rest of the race from his hospital bed, admitting that he could not quite watch the presentations. 

Being cooped up in a French hospital, there was not much else for Porte to watch. Whilst he was dissapointed that he could not be finishing the race, he managed to consider the Tour from an outside perspective. 

With small time margins, this year's Tour saw some unsuspected riders placed into the limelight. The disqualification of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) allowed Michael Matthews to take the green sprint jeresey and Rigoberto Uran impressed overall, taking second on general classification. 

Both personal friends of Porte, their results were able to act as a form of consolation within the dissapointment. This, coupled with an impressive season before the Tour, have confirmed Porte's ambitions to aim for the yellow jersey in 2018. 

'It was a strange Tour with the time gaps being so small. However, it was nice to Rigoberto (Uran) do so well,' further stating 'It was also great to see Michael Matthews win green being not only a good mate but a fellow Aussie.' 

'To win the Tour de Romandie and come runner-up at the Critérium du Dauphiné, it is very dissapointing but, the team have already backed me for 2018 which is motivation to get back on the bike.'

Recalling the crash 

For somebody who hit the deck at 80km/h, Richie Porte is able to recall much more of the devastating crash than expected. 

At first look from the TV pictures, it appears that Porte loses control of his bike after taking a poor line into the bend. However, previous to this corner, Porte's wheel had already locked on breaking, denying him of any control. 

After having his wheel lock, Porte veered into the grass verge, finishing up by hitting the adjacent wall, causing Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) to crash also. 

As soon as he was able, Porte looked to contact Martin to apologise for the unforutnate crash but had found Martin had got there already, quashing any potential issue. 

'There are a lot of people who do not know what happened. I touched the brakes before the corner and my back wheel locked completely.'

'I am good friend's with Dan (Martin) and as soon as I could I wanted to send him a message,' stating 'He had already got there and told me he chose to follow me on the downhill as I was a "safe wheel".'

Contending for the 2018 Tour de France 

With BMC already pledging their support for Porte at next year's Tour, the former winner of Paris-Nice will be looking to replicate the form he held this year to prevent Chris Froome taking a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey. Despite being 32-years-old, he is taking inspiration from a fellow Aussie for his potential success. 

Besides himself, Porte believes that Froome's major rivals take shape in two specific riders. Based on early reports of next year's route, Porte is tipping Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) to offer the stiffest competition over the three weeks. 

Another rider that Porte backs is Mikel Landa (Team Sky) who, if reports are correct, will be racing against current teammate Froome at Movistar next season. 

'I think I have got a couple more in me. Look, Cadel Evans won the Tour at 34-years-old. I was in the shape of my life so with the team and my coach David Bailey, there is no reason I cannot replicate that next year.' 

'I do not know how much truth is behind the leaked route for 2018, but if it has three time trials, then you have to look at (Tom) Dumoulin. Besides him, Bardet is impressive, bar the time trials, and Landa looked pretty good, didn't he.' he laughed.

In the meantime

Whilst dreams of 2018 Tour success and racing the Tour of Britain remain loose targets, Porte is focusing on the now, incorperating cross-training into his rehabilitaion programme. 

A keen swimmer, sponsored by Speedo, Porte will be looking to use the low impact workout of swimming to bring him back up to fitness, alongside walking. Being limited to only 30 minutes on the turbo trainer at a time, Porte is keen to take advantage of the pool, a workout he utilises vastly in the off-season. 

Porte's swimming exploits coupled with his clear talent on the bike have also led to conversation of pursuit of another sport after retirement. 

'I swim a lot in the off-season especially when I am back in Australia, and I will be using it now for rehab especially as I am limited to 30 minutes of riding.'

'I was actually thinking about the Ironman World Championships as I have mate doing it right now. After so many years of hurting on the bike, I'm not sure if I would want to do it,' laughing 'To be honest, after retiring, if I turned to Ironman I think my wife would kill me.'    

As a Speedo ambassador, Porte is part of the Make 1K Wet campaign. This looks to get all fitness enthusiasts who specialise in different disciplines to incorporate at least one swimming session into their weekly training plans.