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New hair cut, new bike - must be time for the Tour de France

By:
Richie Porte
Published:
June 28, 2013, 01:29,
Updated:
June 28, 2013, 02:29
Race:
Tour de France

Final tweaks, and I'm ready for a nervous first week

Richie Porte (Team Sky)

Richie Porte (Team Sky)

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If I had to use one word to describe this last week, it's hectic.

The lead in to the Tour de France is nearly as exhausting as riding it. In my last blog before the Dauphiné I mentioned that I was hopeful of hitting top form about this time after a bit of illness and I'm pleased to say that I've got there.

My run into the Dauphiné was nowhere near ideal. To come away and be second at a race like that, for me this time while last year or even two years ago, that would have been absolutely incredible. But after the season I've had, winning Paris-Nice, and the two seasons Sky has had, second is a good result but you just roll on to the next one. What it's really done is given me a bit more confidence going into the Tour. There was a lot of guys there being touted for the podium at the Tour and I guess they've got a lot of tweaks to do too but Chris and I had just as much to improve on as they did. I don't think Alberto would have been super-chuffed losing 2:17 or whatever it was to me in a time trial. The key thing is that we're not being complacent. We've seen what Alberto can do, take last year's Vuelta for example or pretty much his whole career, but we're expecting a fight. It's not just Alberto, there's a lot of other guys out there gunning for us.

While the Tour has been drawing closer, it doesn't really change the way we train. We haven't done a massive taper after the Dauphiné. Five of us from the Tour team went to Châtel, so we had a little bit of recon and generally tried to keep healthy. With a few last minute adjustments, everyone tries to lose a couple of kilos and now everyone's turned up with new haircuts which makes you instantly look leaner.

The mechanics really earn their cash at this time of year, too. We've recently got new time trial bikes. I got mine almost a month ago and there's been little things to tweak – the handle bar set up for example. My right handle bar has only just arrived. The Pinarello Bolide is a big improvement on the last bike we got but just before the Tour, it makes it hectic. The mechanics are out there building up nine brand new bikes and anyone that's seen a time trial bike being built knows that it's not easy. There are cables going everywhere! You only need to look at it to see that it's a much cleaner, more aerodynamic bike. To ride it, it's ten times different. It's stiffer, it corners better and generally feels like a much better time trial bike.

I've had a few sleep-ins cut short as well. In the last three weeks, with the Dauphiné I've been tested nine times – three or four of those have been out-of-competition. People said at the start of the year that there wasn't a hell of a lot of testing out-of-competition but we were still getting it at races. In the lead-up to the Tour, the stakes are just that much higher so the testers have been busy. Now, people will probably suggest 'oh, he's being target-tested,' but you know what? Stuff it. If you're doing the Tour, this is normal; there's a lot more testing.

So, what to expect at the 2013 Tour de France?

I've seen people having their two bobs worth saying that last year was a boring Tour, but that's their opinion and they love to voice it. This year will be different. You look at Contador, Valverde, Rodriguez and some of the other guys – they're quite explosive climbers so I guess that's how they're going to take it up to us. We've got our style of riding, people say it's boring or robotic or whatever but if you want a clean sport then it comes with the territory. I love it when the armchair experts say that Chris rides off an SRM. Cycling's not mathematical. Some of the times that he's been criticised for doing that, he doesn't even have an SRM on. For example, that last stage of the Dauphiné he'd swapped bikes and he still rode away from everyone. I'm sure I'm going to get slaughtered for saying that, but I really don't care.

The first week of racing is always stressful but this time around, probably more so without a prologue. Corsica in itself is not exactly ideal for a peloton of this size in such a big race, but it's just how it is. It's going to be exciting to watch on television anyway. We've been here before; we did the Critérium International and we rode basically the whole course in March – where we were able to, it was snowing – so some of it we did in the car. There's some pretty technical roads to contend with in the first few days so someone will be losing time, we've just got to hope that it is not us.

If things go to plan and I don't have to sacrifice too early in the climbs for Chris, looking at the Dauphiné and every other race that we've done this season, it is possible for us both to be there at the finish. However, the main goal is to support Chris and to put him on the top stop come Paris. I'm just going to do my job and see what happens.

Álvaro Guimarães More than 1 year ago
Guts.
Cavpilot More than 1 year ago
"I've seen people having their two bobs worth saying that last year was a boring Tour" Well, that's because it was. Not only that, it was obvious too everyone that the strongest rider didn't win the race.
chewi666 More than 1 year ago
I'm guessing you mean Wiggins vs Froome 2012. I'm not sure exactly how much time Wiggins took from Froome in the time trial but could Froome have gained that back in the mountains? I know he is a strong climber but maybe he would still of come second? What do others think?
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
Yes, Froome ended over 3min down on Wiggins, and he lost 2 of those minutes in the time trials. The way Sky wrote last year, Froome would never have made up more than 10-20 sec on Wiggins at the mountaintop-finishes. People just tend to overrate Froome a bit I guess, it must be all the "Wiggins stole his win in 2011 Vuelta and 2012 TDF" -hating Froome Fanboys
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
rode*
Cavpilot More than 1 year ago
Exactly what I'm talking about. Froome could have easily dropped Wiggo on more than one occasion in the mountains (Which he inadvertently did once). Kudos to Froome for being the good soldier and ensuring Wiggins the victory because he couldn't have done it without him.
mandeep gulati More than 1 year ago
totally agreed, but also know the red button will be ever so popular for such a comment... LOL
David Martinsen More than 1 year ago
Very well said! all of it! spot on, have a nice tour! I'm sure you guys will crush it!
sprobert More than 1 year ago
Well said richie - just because your straight up and honest you are sure to get hammered - those of us who know you have got your back - everyone else just has an opinion - staff travels to France buddy
One Eyed Aussie More than 1 year ago
Well done Richie! YOU are the next Aussie winner of the Tour de France. Give Chris this one, but next year it's yours!
DaleUK More than 1 year ago
Good Luck Richie Porte, always speaks his mind, and makes a lot of sense. Its up to the other teams to attack Sky's riding style and out fox you lot. Why change a winning formula? I wont get bored of watching your main rivals fall off the back of the Sky train.
Latvian More than 1 year ago
Going to come second after froome , in worst case third.
pedalon More than 1 year ago
I'd really like to see this guy have the freedom to ride a grand tour for himself. He'll probably have to leave Sky to do that though.
mandeep gulati More than 1 year ago
Damn, love that Bolide... I wish I could just ride hat beast once... It's turning me on... LOL
bckrbonsai More than 1 year ago
"We've got our style of riding, people say it's boring or robotic or whatever but if you want a clean sport then it comes with the territory." This is a really interesting comment. Is the Sky style really the inevitable result of a clean peloton?
Author
Richie Porte

Richie Porte is in the form of his burgeoning career, not an easy task considering the Australian shot into public consciousness in 2010 winning the Giro d'Italia's young rider classification and holding a place in the GC's top-10 for the duration of the grand tour - all as a neo pro.

Following his victory at Paris-Nice and runner-up overall placings at Critérium International and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Team Sky climber is about to take on the Ardennes for the very first time before building up to the Tour de France. Join Porte as he takes Cyclingnews along for the ride.

 

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