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Richie Porte (Saxo Bank Sungard)
Australian arrives after two years at Saxo Bank-Sungard
After an impressive debut season that saw him finish 7th overall in the Giro d’Italia, Porte was linked with a move away from Saxo Bank to Sky at the end of last year, but he opted to see out the remainder of his contract with Bjarne Riis’ team.
“I'm really happy to have signed for Team Sky and cannot wait to see what next season will bring,” Porte said. “Ever since the launch of the team I've been really impressed with the way they go about their business and it'll be nice to be able to experience that first-hand now.
“For riders like myself who are always looking to develop and improve, I don't think there's a better place to be - the coaching set up is absolutely top-notch and the way they look after their riders is also second to none.”
Porte’s second season at Saxo Bank saw him deployed in the service of Alberto Contador at both the Giro and the Tour de France, but he continued to turn in a series of impressive performances against the clock throughout the season, notably on the final stage of the Giro and at the recent Tour of Denmark, where he won the individual time trial.
“I had two great years at Saxo Bank-Sungard, and will be forever grateful to them for giving me my chance in the professional ranks, but am looking forward to opening this next chapter of my career now and hopefully taking things to another level,” Porte said.
In spite of his exploits at the Giro in 2010, where he also wore pink and finished as winner of the young rider classification, Porte explained that he will initially focus on week-long stage races at Sky, albeit with the long-term aim of leading the team in a Grand Tour.
“I'll be targeting the week-long stage races initially, although it would be nice in the future to lead the team in a Grand Tour. My time trialling is another area I want to focus on, and having guys in the team like Bradley Wiggins and Michael Rogers will help me no end and I'll be looking to learn as much as I can from them.”
Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford spoke of his delight at securing the services of “one of the world’s most gifted riders” and he is confident that Porte will be given ample opportunity to shine in the Sky firmament. At 26 years of age, he feels that Porte is at an age where he still has a considerable margin for development as a rider.
“Richie is a rider that has everything - not only is he right up there with the best time triallers in the world, he can also climb and is not afraid to suffer when he is told to work for someone else either,” Brailsford said. “Now is his time to shine - whether that’s in a Grand Tour or on a stage race like Paris-Nice, we’ll have to see, but it’s a long season and he’ll get plenty of opportunities.”