January 2015 is looking like being a life-changing month for Richie Porte who has already become engaged and won a maiden national time trial title in the first eight days of the year. Still to come for the Team Sky rider is the men's national road race on Sunday, the Tour Down Under next week and a 30th birthday celebration to cap it all off on the 31st.
"I just got engaged a few days ago and now to win this time trial against such a class field is fantastic," Porte told reporters after winning the Australian time trial, seven seconds ahead of pre-race favourite Rohan Dennis (BMC).
"The problem for me last year was my health and it looks like I am back on top of it and I'm thrilled to bits to win this. Look at what a great podium we've got and it was a great course for me and great to have Andrew Christie-Johnson of Avanti behind me was like being back in the old days which is fantastic."
Porte had never medalled in the time trial and hadn't ridden the event since 2008 but a new course with hardly a metre of flat roads was always going to be favourable. With three previous time trial wins on his palmares along with sixth and fourth places in the Worlds, Porte's result was his best against the clock since 2013.
"I haven't done a good time trial on a course like this for a long time and we've done a lot of work on my time trial position with the team so credit to Tim Kerrison who believed in me even after the disaster that was 2014 and I am absolutely thrilled to have this national jersey to race in over in Europe," he said. "It's just exciting and I can’t wait."
"The last 20km suited me down to the ground to win by seven seconds over Rohan Dennis (BMC). Full credit to him he's a great rider. Coming into the last 10km I knew that I had to dig in and those sort of climbs are my bread and butter."
Regarded as a favourite for the road race having finished third in 2012 and 2014, Porte will look to become the second rider in Australian history to do the double and add the road race to his time trial title.
"I'd like to enjoy this one for the moment but tomorrow at 8am I am back out on the road bike for three hours and Sunday is a bit more of a lottery," Porte said of the chances for the double. "We'll see how the races play out and I can take confidence from this win and if that doesn’t work out I still have one jersey and a great team for Tour Down Under."
With illness disrupting his 2014 season and causing him to miss out on leading Sky at the 2014 Giro d'Italia, Porte explained that he is aiming for a big year with his contract up for renewal at the end of this year.
"I finished my season in August last year and went back to Tassie in early November and I have been training brilliantly," Porte said of his current form "I haven’t been sick and you can count on one hand the amount of nights I've been out drinking or letting my hair down.
"I am focused and it's a big year for me. There are a lot of people questioning me and my ability, for me, I have some big goals this year and it’s a fantastic way to start it."