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Porte eyes Romandie audition for Tour de France

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Richie Porte (Team Sky) took the overall in Algarve

Richie Porte (Team Sky) took the overall in Algarve (Image credit: José António Fernandes)
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Richie Porte (Team Sky)

Richie Porte (Team Sky) (Image credit: José António Fernandes)
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An ecstatic Richie Porte (Sky) has just won stage 3 at the Volta ao Algarve.

An ecstatic Richie Porte (Sky) has just won stage 3 at the Volta ao Algarve. (Image credit: José António Fernandes)

With Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish set to line up together in Team Sky colours for the first time, anticipation for next week's Tour of Romandie is high. Yet for their teammate Richie Porte, the race has ulterior significance: he is hoping to use it as a springboard to launch himself into Team Sky's plans for the 2012 Tour de France.

The 27-year-old Australian, who signed for Sky from Team Saxo Bank during the off-season, has already started to justify his transfer by winning the Volta ao Algarve in mid-February, finishing two places ahead of Wiggins in the process. That success has given him extra hunger and additional belief as he prepares to work for his two high-profile teammates in Switzerland next week. Another good showing there and the man from Tasmania's claims for a spot in Sky's Tour de France squad would be deafening.

"That's the biggest goal for me, to make that [Sky Tour de France] team," Porte told the Sydney Morning Herald. "It is probably one of the best teams in the world, and it is going to be a hard team to break in to. I guess Sky are investing in me to put me into that team."

Wiggins and Porte's blossoming professional relationship gathered pace in early spring at Paris-Nice last March, where Porte helped Wiggins become only the second Briton to win the Race to the Sun. The early signs are good and Porte is hopeful that this may swing selection in his favour come the summer.

"I get along well with Brad," he said. "We race a lot together. I guess that is what they are shaping me and Chris Froome into ... Brad's men for the mountains. {Romandie's] going to be interesting. It's the first time we have had the two big superstars in the team. It's a bit of a dry run [for the Tour], but I'm sure it's going to work out well. For me, it's more to help Brad. But I'm looking forward to racing with Cav the first time."