When predictable racing is not actually predictable
The Giro is underway and I'm taking some time out in Ireland at the moment.
Was great to see Sky win the team time trial and it's a team that's as strong as any other that's there. You look at Astana on paper I think Sky is a stronger team. It's got the Cataldo's who can climb and then Sergio and Rigoberto - there's not many guys going around that can out-climb those two. There's some good experienced road captains there and then Bradley. He's won the Tour, people seem to forget that and they forget that he out-climbed Nibali. I read Robert Millar's blog the other day and I thought: brilliant blog as per usual, and maybe Brad is controversial but at the same time I think that he thrives on that. He loves to get people talking. It's good for the sport that people have got an interest and that they've got an opinion. A lot of those people can't bring themselves to admit that they are actually Bradley Wiggins fans.
It wouldn't be a grand tour without some pre-race drama and this time it was two-time winner Ivan Basso pulling out. Well I've raced against him a fair bit so far this season at Paris-Nice and Romandie. I don't think he was going to be around the podium anyhow to be totally honest.
You can't rule out Cadel, because it's Cadel and he's the toughest bike rider going around. He goes everywhere to win in the back of his mind. I think if it's written that it's up to Sky to dictate terms, then that will probably suit Cadel. It suited Tejay last year during the Tour that Sky set the pace and how the race was ridden. You can never rule out Cadel.
Ryder last year was well, brilliant. This year he's probably climbing better than that. He was good in the Classics - he was aggressive. Ryder has to be one of the favourites but in saying that, the race is not as tough as it was last year.
All-in-all I don't think you can go past Bradley. When Bradley puts his mind to winning something, he's going to be there.
I was interested to read comments last week from my fellow Tasmanian, Cameron Wurf about how there was almost a predictability about the way Sky race. It's not the first time it's been mentioned but it should be noted that Froomie attacked in Tirreno, I attacked in Paris-Nice, Froomie attacked in Criterium - it's not totally predictable. People say that. Cycling's changed, people want to see exciting racing from 10 years ago or whatever but I'm sorry, that just doesn't happen now. We've copped a lot of flack for riding off SRMs but if Romandie was predictable then that has nothing to do with the use of an SRM because what people don't realise is that when you've got all those cameras around, all the interference off them cuts the data from the SRM. At the end of the day we rode Romandie without an SRM. So maybe that does make us predictable?
Sky was also making headlines last week with Bradley and Froomie staking their claim on the Tour leadership. It's a tricky one. You've got the guy who won the Tour last year and had an incredible season last year. But it's my understanding now that Froomie is supposed to be the leader. It is going to depend who has the form at the right time though and that's at the Tour. That's how Sky operates and the Tour is almost two months away. It's not easy for either party - the same thing is happening at BMC with Tejay and Cadel, it just so happens that we have the two best riders in the world and everyone is loving the 'controversy' of it all.
Enjoy the Giro!
- 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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Looking ahead to the first WorldTour race of 2014