Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has told Cyclingnews that he goes into the Tour de France with his friendship with Chris Froome (Team Sky) on hold as he looks to end his former teammate's dominance in the race.
Porte has been labelled as the Tour de France favourite by many including Froome, after his impressive show of form at the Criterium du Dauphine. The Australian convincingly beat Froome in the individual time trial and dropped him on the two mountain finishes before going on to take second overall behind Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
The pair clashed on the final stage with Porte flat out accusing Froome of racing with the sole purpose of making sure the BMC rider lost, rather than trying to win the race. Froome rejected the idea but the growing tension between the two has been one of the defining features leading up to the start of the Tour de France.
Last week Froome told Cyclingnews that the pair had met up and discussed the Dauphine and that they remained friends off the bike. This year's Tour de France is far from a two-horse race but the pair seem on a collision course as they battle for the yellow jersey.
"He has a different take on it to what I do, but at the end of the day Froome and I have been through a lot of scraps together so we'll always be mates off the bike," Porte told Cyclingnews when asked about the Dauphine episode.
"It doesn't matter if I agree with his tactics, and a race is a race. Certainly I learnt a few things on the Dauphine."
Porte confirmed that the pair – who both reside in Monaco -- went for a training ride in the mountains near where they live in order to clear the air between them.
"We did a six-hour ride together so that's as face-to-face as you can get. We went through a few things but at the end of the day it's up to teams as to how they race. To be honest I wasn't vey happy with how things went down."
Porte, who is one of the favourites for the opening time trial around Düsseldorf, added that his mind was totally focused on the Tour and that distractions, such as social media, and the news would be put to one side until the race was over.
When asked if his friendship with Froome would be put to one side, he replied: "I think so. It's a good time at the Tour de France to switch off your phone. There's not much good that can come out of reading the internet and what's going on. It's a bit of a bubble so I'll try and keep out of it."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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