Richie Porte (Saxo Bank-SunGard) was among those who crashed on stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday, banging his right knee and coming in 19 minutes down on stage winner Pieter Weening (Rabobank).
With that accident, the young Australian's hopes of repeating last year's feat of finishing in the top 10 were dashed, but Porte had already explained to Cyclingnews that his sole objective in Italy is to work for his team's leader Alberto Contador.
"Bjarne (Riis) has made it very clear that we're all here for Alberto," Porte told Cyclingnews in Piombino. "He's the best at what he does, so it would make no sense to go and ride for myself."
Porte was a late addition to the Saxo Bank-SunGard squad for the Giro d'Italia, and he explained that he was called up to duty only the week before the race.
"I was asked the Friday before the Giro if I wanted to come," Porte said. "It's a shock. Maybe mentally I'm not as prepared as I should be, but physically I'm getting there."
At the start line in the shadow of Orvieto's magnificent duomo on Thursday, the gauze on Porte's right arm and knee told its own story as the convicts of the road pedalled off towards Fiuggi. In spite of his injuries, the Australian will be looking to perform his duties in the service of Contador while he has earmarked the final time trial in Milan as his sole opportunity at this Giro to obtain personal glory.
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