“Unfortunately due to illness which occurred overnight it’s been decided that Richie is too unwell to start the race this morning. We expect him to recover quickly and hope to have him back in training within the next 48 hours,” said team doctor Allan Farrell.
It has been a rough 24 hours for Sky, after Geraint Thomas was forced out of Paris-Nice while he was in second place in the general classification. Thomas came down in a crash in a corner on the final descent, while he was able to finish the stage the team decided it would be best for him to sit out the final day of racing.
Saturday’s stage four was the first big test of the climbers, with the summit finish at Cittareale (Selva Rotonda). At the finish, Porte lost five seconds to the stage winner Alberto Contador, but managed to move himself into fourth overall and close the gap to race leader Michal Kwiatkowski. The Australian later lamented spending so much time on the front of the peloton during the day, but was positive that he could still challenge for the race victory.
“He’s really disappointed but recognises that this is the best course of action to prepare him for his upcoming races,” explained Farrell. “He’s looking forward to the Tour of Catalunya next week.”
The Volta a Catalunya begins on Monday 24th March, where Porte will ride in support of Chris Froome. Froome was supposed to be riding Tirreno-Adriatico but had to pull out at the last minute with a back injury. The race will also be the first time Froome and Bradley Wiggins ride together since the World Championships last season.