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Richie Porte: It's the end of an era

Picture by Zac Williams/SWpix.com- 4/09/2022 - Cycling - 2022 AJ Bell Tour of Britain - Stage 1 - Aberdeen to Glenshee Ski Centre, Scotland - Richie Porte, Ineos Grenadiers.
Richie Porte is riding the last race of his career at the Tour of Britain (Image credit: SWpix.com)

Richie Porte is rolling back the years and turning the pedals full bore one last time at the Tour of Britain. Setting the pace in the opening days of the race, the Ineos Grenadiers rider has already hurt a lot of legs racing hard in service of his teammates.

The 2.Pro stage race is acting as a eight-day farewell tour for the 37-year-old. It is his final race before retiring from professional cycling. 

“It’s been really nice. It is a little bit sad, to be honest,” Richie Porte told Cyclingnews. “I’m sure on the last stage, it will be quite emotional. As ready as you are for it, you realise just how many brilliant people there are in and around cycling.”

“It’s been really quite humbling,” he said, of the reaction to his news. “For me, it’s the end of an era, I guess. I’m ready for retirement but at the same time, I know it’s going to be a big shock and change.

“I’ve enjoyed my time as a professional athlete, I’ve a wife and two kids at home, it’s time to spend a bit of my time with them.”

His wife Gemma and children were outside the Ineos Grenadiers bus at the start in Aberdeen on day one, lending their support. The family is set to move to Australia permanently, but other than that, Porte doesn’t have any pressing plans for his next move.

This race is one like no other for Porte: there’s been a “final ride” retirement video made by Ineos Grenadiers, he’s been getting messages from many friends and receiving well wishes from fans in person. Little wonder that Porte feels a bit nostalgic.

“It’s the last week my parents send me those good luck messages,” he added.

Porte is bringing the curtain down on a decorated career. He turned pro at the age of 24 with Saxo Bank in 2010 and, after wearing the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia that year, he quickly became one of the best one-week stage racers in the peloton.

He won two editions of Paris-Nice (2013 and 2015) and two editions of the Tour Down Under (2017 and 2020); at his home race and he may forever be the 'King of Willunga Hill', winning six times there.

Porte was also victorious at the 2017 Tour de Romandie, the 2018 Tour de Suisse and 2021 Critérium du Dauphiné. He also finished third in the 2020 Tour de France, racing with Trek-Segafredo.

There were lowlights too, most notably his crashes at the 2017 and 2018 Tour de France. The former led to a fractured clavicle and pelvis, seeing him taken to hospital in a neck brace.

His best memories from racing are being part of Team Sky between 2012 and 2015. “Back when we were the Jumbo-Visma of today, those was pretty incredible moments,” he said. “I got some really good friendships out of it. Aside from your personal victories, it’s that camaraderie. 

“Also being able to come back to this team and finish it off: Dave Brailsford allowed me to do that, which is something I’ll be forever grateful for.”

Are there any regrets for Porte? 

“I rode with some brilliant teams and I was lucky to do so,” he said of a career that saw him in the kit of Saxo Bank, Sky, BMC and Trek-Segafredo.

“Maybe one is I would have loved to have ridden for FDJ or someone like that. Growing up as an Aussie and watching the Australians on those teams, I was always a bit of a fan of the French teams.”

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