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Australian looking to repeat his Volta a Catalunya win from last year but might be impeded by health issues.

Photo: A.S.O.

BMC RACING TEAM

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PARIS - NICE

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RICHIE PORTE

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VOLTA A CATALUNYA

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21.03.2016 @ 09:34 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Switching teams from Team Sky to BMC doesn’t seem to have affected Richie Porte. The Australian rider currently leads the UCI’s WorldTour rankings. He was second overall in the Tour Down Under (just nine seconds behind Simon Gerrans) and earlier this month he finished third in the final stage of Paris-Nice to move onto the GC podium – finishing third, 12 seconds behind SKY’s Geraint Thomas.

 

Between his Australian races in January and the podium in Paris-Nice, Porte competed – without great success – in Oman. 

Porte didn’t seem to be too upset with his podium finish at the Paris-Nice even though he was unable to repeat his win from last year, a failure that was partly due to illness.

 

“I’m a little bit under the weather but I’ve got a few more days at home until the Volta a Catalunya so I’m happy with how Paris-Nice went.

Obviously I won it last year and I’ve got different goals this year so all things in perspective, that’s a good way to start my European campaign,” Porte told Ridemedia.

 

In the Paris-Nice race Porte found himself in the rather unusual situation as leader of a team having to fight against and watch a former team-mate win the title.

 

“It’s a little bit different,” acknowledged Porte. “You can kind of think a little more for yourself and that is a hard thing. Coming from Team Sky where I’d go to Paris-Nice and Catalunya and lead but ultimately, in the back of my mind, I knew that come July I’m going to be helping somebody else.

 

“But I don’t see it as stress. I think, obviously, the guys having the stress are the guys like Froome and Contador who are the overwhelming favourites to go and win the Tour de France and I’m actually quite excited to be able to take a little bit more of a backseat; Sky and Tinkoff are the teams that have to ride the race.”

 

Evidently, both Porte and his fellow team leader at BMC Racing Team, American Tejay van Garderen, will be looking to exploit the rivalry between Froome and Contador to their own advantage.

 

“I think Tejay and I can hopefully sit in. It was nice to go to Paris-Nice and race against Tinkoff with Contador and Rafal Majka, and Sky with Geraint Thomas and Sergio Henao and see that, having two guys on GC is actually quite a good [plan] for the tactics in the race. Hopefully Tejay and I will be around the mark in July.”

 

Coming from sunny Australia to European races plagued by snow and lousy weather condition has proved a challenge for Porte and his chances of repeating his overall win from last year in the Volta a Catalunya might be impeded by health issues.

 

 “Obviously last year I won Paris-Nice and then two weeks later I won Catalunya as well. They are the stage races of the start of the year but it is hard coming from an Australian summer to riding in snow and things like that. This year I hadn’t worn my rain jacket or anything like that until Paris-Nice and it is kind of like you feel like a Michelin Man riding around with a rain jacket and thermal vests and things like that on… I think that’s a bit of a hard one, to get the body to adjust to that. I think that’s kind of why I’m sitting on the couch as crook as a dog at the moment.” 

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