Put aside all the talk of a move to Trek-Segafredo and the disarmament of the BMC Racing arsenal, and you'll find that Richie Porte and his teammates are solely focused on success at this year's Tour de France, where the Australian will be hoping to at least challenge for the podium.
Porte and BMC Racing were on song in June's pivotal Tour de Suisse, where they controlled the race from start to finish courtesy of a winning ride in the opening team time trial, with Porte then displaying his mettle in the high mountains.
At the race, Cyclingnews sat down with Porte after one of the medium mountain stages for an exclusive interview. With Procycling's Tour de France guide to hand, Porte took us through the route, at times stage-by-stage, giving his interpretation and predictions from the opening stages in the Vendée to the Alps, and on through the Pyrenees.
Porte and his BMC Racing teammates have carried out reconnaissance rides over several key stages, and the Australian details those experiences, along with picking out several key teammates who will help him throughout the race.
Back in the Cyclingnews office, we then look at Porte's chances of overall victory at the race. The former Team Sky rider has never made the podium in a three-week Grand Tour, but has constantly demonstrated that he has virtually all the necessary individual skills to succeed. Strong against the clock, powerful in the mountains, and with a strong team around him, the ingredients are all there.
However, bad luck, crashes and illness – all features of racing – have often played their part and hindered Porte's ambitions. The Australian is undoubtedly one of the most successful and consistent riders of his generation when it comes to week-long stage races, but transferring those skills into Grand Tour success remains Porte's Holy Grail. Can he finally succeed? Only time will tell…
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