Richie Porte of Team Saxo Bank-SunGard will have a way to go to top his first pro year, but is looking forward to the challenge. “It's going to be a great year for us. It's a new generation eager to gain territory and it's exciting to be a part of it. I hope to be able to stay after the upcoming season as well,” he said.
The highlight of his first pro year was without doubt “wearing the pink jersey in Giro d'Italia. Obviously, leading one of the big tours is a huge thing and perhaps even more when you are a neo pro. I proudly wore it for three days and took the white jersey overall and the experience will stay in my mind for the years to come,” he said on the team's website.
His first successes as a pro have helped him to mature both personally and professionally, the 25-year-old noted. “Certainly, I have been growing up a lot faster this year and the success has a way of getting to a person's head but I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground. This year has given me more confidence to believe that I can do well in stage races.
"Physically, it has changed me to perform a lot better in these races and with those things combined, I want to take advantage of my new abilities in 2011. I'm much hungrier than last year”.
Porte is now at his home in Tasmania, spending the holidays with his family, but recently attended the teambuilding gathering on Fuerteventura. The Australian admitted he ”went in to the clown activity with mixed feelings. Then, I turned and looked at Alberto (Contador) who won the Tour de France three times and he was just as bad at the activities as I was which kind of equalized us.
There are many changes in the team for the coming season, but “I really got the feeling that we are all friends in this team. Surely, a large group of cyclists left this year but all the new guys on the team will be integrated in no time. The team management has made a good job picking the right guys for this year's line-up.
“I talked to Alberto (Contador) while training and he is truly a great champion. He made sure to talk to everyone during the ride and he's really humble in his way of approaching you and so are Navarro, Noval and Hernandez. It's going to be a great year for us. It's a new generation eager to gain territory and it's exciting to be a part of it. I hope to be able to stay after the upcoming season as well”.
His race programme for 2011 includes Tirreno Adriatico, “maybe” the Tour de Suisse, and the Tour de Romandie. The latter “is naturally special for me as I won the race time trial this year. It was my first professional win and I think I'm going to take on the 2011 edition of the race in better shape. I'm ready and want to make the step to the next level.”