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Water for a hangover? Richie Porte and Chris Froome before the start of the Aalst Criterium
Sky rider thinks course will suit him
“I’ve had a look at the route, I like it and it’s not a bad race for me,” he told Cyclingnews ahead of stage 1 of the Tour of Beijing. “I’m still not really sure what my programme is yet though. Not until the Tour route comes out. Obviously I’d love to do the Giro for myself before going to the Tour and helping Chris [Froome] there.”
This year’s Giro route is another tough one, with eight summit finishes, including the tortuous Monte Zoncolan. There are two individual time trials at next year’s event plus a team trial, which was won by Sky this season. The last time trial is a challenging 26 kilometre mountain test where Porte believes he could make an impact.
“Why not? I won on Col d’Éze this year,” explained Porte, pointing to his win at Paris-Nice. “I know it’s not a full on mountain time trial, but it’s a hard time trial. I think also the stages in the final week are going to be crucial.”
Porte has often played a vital role in Froome’s success this season. The Australian’s performances convinced Sky to appoint him leader at this year’s Paris-Nice, where he won the final stage and the overall victory. Porte also took victories at the Criterium International and the Vuelta al País Vasco.
He has yet to be given the chance to lead the team at a grand tour. With the Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who finished third at the Giro, leaving the team to head to Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014, Porte could find himself with a few more opportunities.
Tour of Beijing
Currently the 28-year-old is riding the Tour of Beijing. He has been named as one of the favourites to take the victory, but Porte is more circumspect about his chances. “It’s been a long season and the legs are tired. I’m here because the team want me here, because the points are tight.
“To be honest, I don’t really know where I am. I’ve been going since January without a proper break. We’ve got a team here who could make it hard before that, but we’ll just see how we go.”
This is the third edition of the Chinese WorldTour race and is the first to feature a summit finish on the Mentougou Miafeng Mountain. Porte believes that, although decisive, the climb shouldn’t be too testing. “It looks hard on paper, but then when you look at it it’s only five or six per cent. So someone like Tony Martin could get up that. We’ll have to see.”
Martin is currently the only rider to have won the Tour of Beijing and is in China looking for his third title.