I'm back. Well, from training in Tenerife. My racing comeback is still a few days off but it's good to be home after two weeks on the volcano with the team. Back to greenery, friendly people, and a bit more atmosphere in general is always good for the spirit and I'm looking forward to getting back into racing with Liège-Bastogne-Liège this Sunday and then Romandie next week.
The volcano is an interesting place though. It's not really my cup of tea, it's so isolated but I've certainly noticed that more and more teams are using it as a training base these days. We had to change hotels half-way through our stay because another squad had booked ours out. I was talking to Froomie about it and he pointed out that it had turned into just another one of those race hotels and with Belkin, Astana, Cannondale and Katusha all up there at the same time, it's hard to argue.
I'm hoping that this block of training will set me up nicely for the next couple of weeks. Froomie too, who is starting to fly again in training.
I want to talk a bit about the Giro and what happened. Look, first off it was a really tough call but at the end of the day, I decided that I just couldn't go there and race. It was my decision, not the team's and they've been really supportive and didn't put any pressure on my whatsoever.
I would have loved to have raced the Giro but at Tirreno I went from being up there on one mountain stage, and in quite good condition, to being knelt over a toilet in my time trial position due to gastroenteritis. I thought that I was okay for Catalunya but I just had nothing in the tank and when you know, you just know.
In the last few days, of course I've thought about changing track and going to the Giro. You're out training, you're feeling good and you can't help but think to yourself 'yeah I can still do this' but a month without racing just means it's not realistic. A month without racing feels like an eternity and no matter how much work you do at altitude, it's still not the same.
The reality is that you can't lose three weeks of training so close to a grand tour.
Now I'll go to the Tour, where we'll have a stronger team and a clear set of aims. We have the defending champion, and the best rider in the peloton in Froomie and I'm looking forward to racing alongside him.
So it's Liege next and then Romandie. I did Romandie last year and my form at that time was on a bit of a downward spiral but I'm coming into that race quite fresh.
I'm itching to get out there and back into the swing of things because everyone seems to be doubting our team right now but we're very motivated. Other teams are looking at how we train and that's good for cycling as a whole as it shows evolution but at the same time you can't help but think that we've been a bit unlucky. We've had crashes for Thomas, I've been ill and Froome has missed racing too. But the season is far from over and we just need to start wining and then things will start turning around.
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Richie Porte is in the form of his burgeoning career, not an easy task considering the Australian shot into public consciousness in 2010 winning the Giro d'Italia's young rider classification and holding a place in the GC's top-10 for the duration of the grand tour - all as a neo pro.
Following his victory at Paris-Nice and runner-up overall placings at Critérium International and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Team Sky climber is about to take on the Ardennes for the very first time before building up to the Tour de France. Join Porte as he takes Cyclingnews along for the ride.
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