Richie Porte will not take the start line at the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, due to illness. Cycling Australia made the announcement on Saturday morning, a week ahead of the elite men's road race set to take place on Sunday, September 30.
"I'm really disappointed to miss the road race" Porte said in the statement. "It was a big goal for me at the end of the season and I had been training and racing with the road race in mind.
"Recent illness means my preparation has been far from ideal and for a race of this difficulty, with more than 4600metres of climbing, you need to have the best preparation possible to be up there."
Cycling Australia built a team around Porte for the men's road race, given that it is one of the most challenging circuits in the history of the World Championships. The men will race 258.5km that includes the formidably named final Holl climb. The brutally steep ascent, with pitches of 25 per cent, will potentially decide the winner.
The Australian team includes Simon Clarke, Rohan Dennis, Jack Haig, Chris Hamilton, Damien Howson, Robert Power and Rory Sutherland. Cycling Australia is considering its options with regards to a replacement for Porte in the team, and according to the press release, Porte agreed that this was the best decision.
"Within the Cycling Australia team, we have decided that it is in the team's best interests if my place goes to someone else," Porte said. "I wish the whole Aussie team the best and will be cheering them on from home."
Porte had an upper respiratory infection in the spring, and missed Tirreno-Adriatico. He had good preparation ahead of the Tour de France with a victory at Tour de Suisse, however, he crashed during the Roubaix stage 9 and broke his collarbone. He planned for a strong end of season at the Vuelta a España, in preparation for Worlds, but he raced through illness in the last week and hasn't been able to fully recover.
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa said that he is suffering from another upper respiratory infection and is currently taking antibiotics. He is not training at the moment, however, he will be back on the bike once fully recovered.
"Richie developed an upper respiratory infection towards the end of the Vuelta a España which has required him to take antibiotics and stop training," Testa said.
"He will need a few more days off the bike to recover properly which means it does not make sense for him to line up at the Worlds Championships. Richie will resume training next week and will be able to race again this season."
Australian Cycling Team Performance Director Simon Jones commented on Porte's decision to not start the World Championships saying, "No one is more disappointed than Richie, and he knows he won't be able to perform to his high expectations.
"The team has worked really hard behind the scenes to pull the game plan together, and we will regroup and refocus during the week ahead."