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“He still has a lot of work to do, but his motivation remains high,” said Tim Kerrison. “He is not at the level where he should be and he knows it."

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CHRIS FROOME

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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PETER KENNAUGH

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RICHIE PORTE

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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05.05.2014 @ 14:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

While Christopher Froome, despite all the setbacks he recently faced, gave a convincing answer to all his critics by proving that he’s exactly where he should be at the moment with an emphatic victory in the Tour de Romandie last week, his once reliable lieutenant Riche Porte confirmed an observation of an entirely different kind.

Following an undoubtedly important role as a final cog in the Team Sky train the 29-year old Australian played last year, unsurprisingly versatile Porte was provided by the British squad with an opportunity to test himself as a grand tour leader at this year’s Giro d’Italia edition, played on the course highly suitable to his characteristics.

Or, more precisely, Team Sky intended to provide him with such a great opportunity, but it all eventually came to nothing as a consequence of a long term – but never called by any name – illness, combined with a sudden need to make sure Froome will be served his energy bars on Tour’s decisive ascents after Sergio Henao was sent home to share some insights into an impressive efficiency of a training in Colombian mountains.

 

Whatever the reason really was, and lack of motivation or ability to handle a pressure inevitably connected with becoming a leader of the WorldTour most formidable formation are some of other ideas, the fact is that Porte, following his fairly promising start to the 2014 season in Australian championships, Santos Tour Down Under and Vuelta a Andalucia, withdrawn from every single race he participated in: Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and most recently, Tour de Romandie.

 

In such circumstances, forcing the 29-year old Australian out of the Giro d’Italia, which route suited him down to the ground, seemed the only reasonable option for the British squad, but his recent performances force to ask questions about his ability to build-up a sufficient disposition ahead of the Tour de France.

 

However, Team Sky performance director Tim Kerrison noticed a progress in Australian’s short periods of racing spent at the rear end of the peloton between his withdrawals, and insisted that even though Porte is certainly not at the level he should be at the moment, they believe everything develops in the right direction.

 

“This illness is affecting him in the long term, he is getting better, he is well trained, but it will be very important to identify what we need to do to put things in the right direction,” team Sky’s head of performance Tim Kerrison told L’Équipe.

 

“He still has a lot of work to do, but his motivation remains high,” said Kerrison. “He is not at the level where he should be and he knows it.”

 

Porte’s next race is the Critérium du Dauphiné, which begins on June 8th. Meanwhile, Team Sky will line up at the 2014 edition of the Giro d’Italia with Peter Kennaugh most likely being their best GC hope.

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