Richie Porte's season is currently headed in the opposite direction to his teammate Chris Froome. As Froome rode to his second consecutive Tour de Romandie victory, Porte was racking up a record of a different kind. The Sky rider's bad run of form continued in Romandie with his fourth consecutive race abandon during the race’s penultimate stage.
Porte has been suffering the after effects of an illness that forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico in March. Since abandoning Tirreno, the Sky rider has also called it quits at the Volta a Catalunya, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Romandie.
"This illness is affecting him in the long term, he is getting better, he is well trained, but it will be very important to identify what we need to do to put things in the right direction," team Sky’s head of performance Tim Kerrison told L'Équipe.
Porte had a good start to the season with a stage win at the Tour Down Under and second place in the general classification at the Vuelta a Andalucía. He was set to lead Sky at the Giro d’Italia later this week, but the consecutive abandons at Tirreno and Catalunya lead team Sky to chose to remove Porte from the roster. The team now goes into the race, which starts this Friday, without any solid general classification hopes.
The Australian’s new focus will be the Tour de France in July and supporting Chris Froome in his defense of his 2013 title. Sky knows that there is still plenty of room for improvement but, despite yet another abandon, they are pleased with his progression. "He still has a lot of work to do, but his motivation remains high," said Kerrison. "He is not at the level where he should be and he knows it."
Porte's next race is the Critérium du Dauphiné, which begins on June 8th.