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Sky: Porte ready to lead at a Grand Tour

Daniel Benson
October 16, 2013, 11:01,
October 16, 2013, 12:01
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Giro d'Italia
Richie Porte kept close track of Froome, who was suffering a hunger knock

Richie Porte kept close track of Froome, who was suffering a hunger knock

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Australian heads towards Giro d'Italia

Team Sky has yet to announce their full set of goals for 2014 but Richie Porte received his biggest endorsement as a grand tour leader yet after one of the team’s directors claimed that the Australian had all the credentials to win a three-week race.

Porte has made no secret of his desire to lead the British team in a grand tour with the Giro d’Italia expected to be the focal point of the rider’s season. The 2014 race route was presented last week in Milan and with Sky’s Dan Hunt present.

“Like it’s been said many times, it’s quite a balanced route with around eight flat stages, five mountain stages and five medium mountain stages, a flat time trial, an up hill time trial and a team time trial. It’s got a bit of everything,” he told Cyclingnews.

Balanced route aside Sky’s determination to compete in both the Giro and the Tour de France was evident this year with Bradley Wiggins leading in Italy and Chris Froome challenging in July. With Wiggins found wanting and later abandoning the Giro and his grand tour future uncertain, Porte is the team’s best card to play at the Giro, assuming that Froome attempts to defend his Tour title.

“He’s ready to lead at a grand tour,” Hunt said of Porte, before adding, “I think he has the possibility of wining the Giro. I think he has all the right credentials to lead and win a grand tour but in three weeks of road racing almost anything is possible. It’s probably the hardest race on the calendar.

“I think he’s experienced, he’s developed both physically and mentally as a rider. He’s got that level of maturity that’s needed in order to lead in a grand tour. The next few weeks are about a time of recovery after a long season and then the management team with Richie in particular can sit down and think about what it would take to win the Giro. So rather than looking at it with just some hopes and dreams we’ll start looking at it objectively and figuring out how are we going to win, who are we going to win it with and what do we need to win this race. We’ll just work backwards from there.”

Sky’s main concern, according to Hunt, could be over how Sky split their squad between dual grand tour challenges. This year Sky looked weaker at the Tour than they had done twelve months previously and although they ran out winners courtesy of Chris Froome’s virtually untouchable form, their team leader was at times isolated. The loss of Rigoberto Uran to Omega Pharma QuickStep and Wiggins' levels of motivation may have weakened the team but the signing of Mikel Nieve after a stand-out performance on the slopes of Mont Ventoux during this year’s Tour has bolstered the team’s climbing strengths.

“Our key issue is about dividing up the squad and making sure that we’re strong at both the Giro and the Tour and making sure that we’re not reliant on the same individuals doing both. We can’t go to the Giro and try and win if don’t have the right team around Richie, but we don’t want to weaken our Tour team.”

PJK1972 More than 1 year ago
Easy enough teams to work out : Giro : Porte, Catalado, Puccio, Siutsou, Kiriyenka, Deignan, Swift, Zandio, Knees TdF : Froome, Porte, Henao, Lopez, Nieve, EBH, Thomas, Stannard, Rowe. Vuelta team would depend on season performances and fitness. Would give one of the young climbers a go in the Vuelta. Maybe Edmonson or Dombrowski? No sure who would lead though as Henao failed badly this year in GT's.
Shallves More than 1 year ago
No room for Wiggo?
Uncle_Tod More than 1 year ago
Wiggo can't descend in the wet... he doesn't like rain. Interesting considering he lives in one of the wettest countries in the world.
AydinR More than 1 year ago
He can ride as a domestique...
TShame More than 1 year ago
I guess when you turn drug-free on Sky, then you don't get to lead the team anymore.
meals-on-wheels More than 1 year ago
Wiggins could ride the Tour - if he doesn't you have to ask what on earth are Sky paying him for?
Uncle_Tod More than 1 year ago
Pretty sure the Tour also has rain...
the_musette_cc More than 1 year ago
Actually about 48th according to the UN stats. Drier than, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Italy to name a few. I can't find any stats on "miserable" weather though, sadly.
Peter von More than 1 year ago
Wiggo can descend in the wet and is an excellent bike handler, he just had a bad experience in the giro on one stage and then the rest of the top guys started attacking on downhill sections and because there were so many days of this pattern he didn't have time to recover mentally, possibly made worse because of starting illness and/or injury. This raises doubt over Wiggins ability to lead a big team in a GT yes, not (IMO) his ability to ride a bike, Wiggo is a very good rider and has shown time and again that he is willing to dig deep for his teammates. Wiggins even started to get better when descending in the giro, it was very clear that those few stages weren't a reflection of his normal downhill ability. Froome will stand a better chance of winning the Tour with Wiggins on the team than not.
PJK1972 More than 1 year ago
Track Racing next year for SBW
mattghg More than 1 year ago
No place for Peter Kennaugh?
meals-on-wheels More than 1 year ago
Kennaugh had a good Tour - I see no reason why he shouldn't line up at next year's Tour.
PJK1972 More than 1 year ago
I totally agree. Just forgot the young man! He had a brilliant Tour. Was so funny watching him crawl out of a bush when he got turfed off the road. I was a tad worried for him. Probably swap him out for Rowe.
Peter von More than 1 year ago
well they would need to have more than nine riders ready for the Tour, in case of injury and to have some helthy in-team competition, when i read your post i assumed PK was ment to be one of the reserves :D
1CameronMurray More than 1 year ago
Disappointed that you find no place for Bernie Eisel - No Bernie at the TdF this year was Sky's problem. Bernie Eisel knows how to control a team on the road!!
Wattie More than 1 year ago
My thoughts exactly. Also would be very useful if the rumoured cobbles are on the route.
meals-on-wheels More than 1 year ago
If Sky leave Bernie out of a Tour with cobbles - the poor guy will be utterly crestfallen - c'mon Sky have a heart!
Cance > TheRest More than 1 year ago
Why he hasnt already left Sky for the benefit of Cav at Quickstep is a big mystery for me
Peter von More than 1 year ago
His contract...
Steven Nicholson More than 1 year ago
in your Tour lineup i'd swap Lopez + Rowe with Kennaugh + Eisel, apart from that i'd say you're very close to the lineups that will be selected for Giro + Tour
Mr Edward More than 1 year ago
Porte will be too exhausted to be Froome's super-domestique if he rides the Giro too. Sky's problem is too many GC contenders and not enough baskets, they need a more balanced team. Particularly if Froome is truthful when he says he'll target the Tour for the next seven years.
TANK91 More than 1 year ago
No one expects Porte to be super strong but i can tell you a guy who does the Giro then Domestiques the TDF with Porte's ability is still a bad bad man.
Chris Todgers More than 1 year ago
You missed our Kennaugh, who will undoubtedly be in one of the squads, i would have thought. Maybe instead of Rowe or Swift?
wolfee11 More than 1 year ago
unlike froome (strong time trial,dominate mountain riding) when riding for wiggins, porte has not shown that he is the best at sky. to put him ahead of wiggins, froome would be a surprise. yes he deserves a chance, but its more likely to happen at orica green edge
BackSeatRider More than 1 year ago
I have to disagree with you here. For one it is almost certain that Porte will be leading Sky at the Giro next year so your statement that he is more likely to lead at Orica doesn't hold water. Froome will only lead the Tour so the team needs a leader for the Giro. Wiggins of two years ago is not the same rider as he is today. He has admitted to not having the drive to be a GC winner anymore so Porte moves to #2 on the Sky team. Wiggins would make a great support rider and could win the TT stages along the same lines as Martin and Cancellara. Porte has won several races and been the teams strongest domestique, other than Froome who at Sky would you put above him?
Christopher Clarke More than 1 year ago
let's hope he does a better job than in Beijing then.
boombastic More than 1 year ago
it will be excitiong to watch : porte, bentacour/pozzovivo, majka, basso, evans, valverde, scarponi/ colombians and pirazzi fun :D
Tony M More than 1 year ago
Porte is certainly ready,willing and able to lead a team at the Giro and importantly he deserves the opertunity. My sélections for the Tour and the Giro Would be; Giro:Porte,Henao,Knees,Kennaugh,Cataldo,Zandio,Puccio,Eisel,Deignan Tour de France:Froome,Porte,Nieve,Kiryienka,Thomas,B-Hagen,Souitsu,Lopez,Stannard I dont think you can plan the Vuelta at this stage.It would largely be a case of who's got the legs. Pre 2014 I would say Sky should also be giving serious thought to a squad capable of threatening the classics. My sélections for this would be B-Hagen,Thomas,Stannard,Eisel,Kiryienka,Lopez,Kennaugh,Edmonson,Swift
WilGirod'Italia More than 1 year ago
Sky have been virtually non existant in the Classics...
1CameronMurray More than 1 year ago
yes - totally clueless management re the Classics. Mount Tejide good for many things, but not ideal for Roubaix is it!! Let the guys ride to win, let the guys go in a break - just try something different in the Classics please Sky!