In those years the former rowing and swimming coach from Australia has also coached their Australian Sky teammate Richie Porte towards his chance of one day emerging from the rank of their 'wingman' to going into a grand tour as Sky’s designated team leader.
That opportunity is now finally under way at the Giro d’Italia that started on Saturday. Before the race began, Kerrison spoke to Rupert Guinness for Cyclingnews and The Sydney Morning Herald about Porte’s “roller coaster” progression and his status as a Giro favourite.
What we have done this year is smooth that out. He has had to learn how to operate in the middle … how to maintain and be consistent with his training, nutrition and look after himself, his lifestyle. What he has learnt really is that it is bloody easy. When people started questioning him in January – in the way they questioned Brad [Wiggins] in the beginning of 2012 when he was winning races early, and with Chris [Froome] in 2013 - some sounded like a broken record saying, ‘You’ve hit your form too soon.’ All the guys did was to learn how to be consistent and professional and live the lifestyle of an elite professional athlete. Richie is on a very similar trajectory.
TK: It is something he enjoys doing. We talked about continuing less frequently through the season. There is a bit of a concern. We don’t want him to be retaining any unneeded muscle mass in his upper body. But it’s a nice thing for him to be able to do in the off-season, to balance that in training and to give him a bit of variety. Cyclists tend not to do a lot of cross training or have a lot of variety in their training programs.
TK: There is a real confidence. It is very reminiscent of Bradley in 2012. When they are on it, those guys are on it. They are always where they need to be. They never miss a beat. They are always in the right position. It’s because they have both the physical ability to be there more easily than anyone else, and … the more commitment and sacrifice they have made to be in the great shape they are in, the more they want to make sure they don’t make any silly mistakes like miss a split. There is an attention to detail that carries over from the training to the racing as well.
Rupert Guinness is a sports writer for The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media)
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