The 2017 season is shaping up nicely for Alexander Porter one month out from the Hong Kong Track World Championships where he and Australia are aiming to defend the team pursuit title. The 20-year-old started his year with success on the road at the Australian nationals in the U23 ranks before switching his attention back to the velodrome.
Selection for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race off the back of his nationals performance saw Porter make his WorldTour debut and slightly delay his track season. However, the South Australian has since enjoyed solid national track championships earlier this month, followed by victory in the Bendigo Madison with Rohan Wight.
"I was really happy with how the year stated with those results on the road and then getting into the break at Cadels was an awesome experience and made me hungry to keep going with it. Hopefully I can go over to Europe and get some good results and show I am more than just a track rider," Porter told Cyclingnews of his road ambitions
Before Porter heads to Europe with the national team, he will be a key rider in the team pursuit squad which is hardly recognisable from the Rio Olympic Games just over six months ago. Gone are the experienced trio of Michael Hepburn, Jack Bobridge and Alexander Edmondson while Callum Scotson is racing on the road with the BMC Development squad. It means just Sam Welsford is left over from Rio, where Australia won silver, but Porter is confident in defending the rainbow jersey he won last March in London. The duo are also the only survivors from that Worlds winning squad.
"It has changed with a lot of young guys who have come in, so it's a young group now other than Cam Meyer with the next oldest guy at 23," he said of the return of the six-time world champion to the track set up. "We have all been meshing together really well so it's a great team dynamic and we're looking forward to Worlds. With a lot of young guys in the squad we are itching to get there and see what we can do."
Porter's belief is strengthened by the fact that he was part of the squad which won the team pursuit on the Hong Kong track in round 3 of the 2015-16 Track World Cup. On that occasion, the Australian quartet got the better of Denmark and it's the Scandinavians who he sees the biggest challengers once again.
"It is good to be able to go to a track that we have already ridden before. It's a bit different to some of the other tracks we've ridden but it's a nice fast track. It will be good to have myself, Sam and Rohan who have already ridden on it we can go over there knowing what we are getting into and talk to the guys and let them know what to expect," he said.
"GB is always a team to watch and they always pull out a good ride. I think another big one for us to watch will be Denmark. They rode exceptionally well at the last World Cup in Cali so I think they'll be coming off a high and the biggest team to watch."
Since 2002, the world team pursuit title has been shared by Australia and Great Britain with Denmark's 2009 victory an anomaly. Porter and co will be aiming to continue that trend and claim Australia's 12 rainbow jersey in the discipline before the attention turns back to the road and making an impression in Europe.