Richie Porte reveals just how fast he can go up the infamous climb of the Col de la Madone

Richie Porte has revealed that he smashed the record for the fastest time up the Col de la Madone near Monaco.

The Tasmanian on Team Sky confirmed that he clocked a 29-40 time up the famous col just before the 2014 Tour de France, knocking approximately 30 seconds off his teammate Chris Froome’s time of 30-09.

Froome recently admitted that his time had been beaten, but kept the identity of the new record holder a secret.

“That would have been me,” Porte told Cycling Weekly after winning Paris-Nice for a second time last weekend. “I don’t think anyone is going to beat that.”

Froome and Porte, who both live in Monaco, threw the 13.6km Col de la Madone back under the spotlight ahead of the 2013 Tour.

The climb had been made famous – and later infamous – by Lance Armstrong, who would train on the climb when he lived in Nice.

His record up the climb was 30-47 ahead of the 1999 Tour, beating a previous benchmark by Tony Rominger of 31-30. Both were clients of Dr Michele Ferrari.

In his book ‘It’s Not About The Bike,’ Armstrong explains that his time up the Madone just before the Tour de France could tell him whether or not he would win the race. His bike, the Trek Madone, was named after the climb.

Armstrong’s teammate on US Postal, Tom Danielson, later set a time of 30-24 (which can’t have made Lance happy) however both have since fallen a number of times to the Team Sky duo.

“I think the previous time I set was a 30-14, or 30-24, in 2013. Then Froomey got 30-09, and I did 29-40 last year,” added Porte. “That was just before the Tour, so I actually was in good form going into the Tour.”

Despite his evident pre-Tour form, Porte memorably suffered as Sky’s plan B at the 2014 race, losing considerable time on his key GC rivals and overall winner Vincenzo Nibali on stage 13 which finished on the summit of Chamrousse.

He went on to finish 23rd overall after illness and fatigue got the better of him. However this season he claims he has put his health troubles behind him thanks to swimming sessions in Tasmania over the winter.

And, after an impressive showing in Paris-Nice where he won the stage four summit finish and the final stage time trial on the Col d’Eze, he believes he is ready for a tilt at the Giro d’Italia.

In particular he is eyeing up the 60km time trial on stage 14 and will recce the route of the stage this week. He’ll then race at the Tour of Catalunya and the Giro del Trentino before lining up in San Lorenzo Al Mare on May 9.

“In November last year I was back in Tassie, swimming, and thinking about the Giro the whole time,” he added. “I’m as motivated as I’ve ever been and I can’t wait to get there, and hopefully be top form and fight for a podium.”

  • Ciaran Carroll

    Journalists are afraid to accuse. They don’t want to accuse a rider without evidence of doping. If an accusation is made without reasonable back-up the athlete in question can sue the journalist for slander. Lance tactics, accuse and I’ll sue. Having been sued for slander and ruining to reputation of a newspaper/website they will most probably lose their job. All of that over an accusation, so please keyboard warriors, stop the accusations until you find something that isn’t right, hearsay and looking at the past isn’t proof. If something irregular is found, please report it to the UCI, WADA or whatever anti-doping agency rather than going on cycling websites.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    Seriously, if this bothers you so much then fuck off and start watching something else. It doesn’t take a doper to beat a doper Lance never showed Grand Tour potential. Prior to cancer Lance started 4 tours and only finished 1. He couldn’t climb. Lance used to absolutely dominate the tour. If Froome was doped for the 2015 tour I don’t think he would have let Quintana go off on Alpe d’Huez the way he did. If you’re going to accuse Froome and Porte on assumption, that means you are also accusing Quintana, Valverde, Nibali and basically every GT rider out there. I can’t say who’s clean or who isn’t but without any evidence what you are doing is known as slander. David Walsh said he believes Froome is clean. Let’s not forget this is the same David Walsh who chased after Armstrong for nearly 15 years to prove he was a cheat. Now is time for you to stop trying to be a whistle-blower because you have no whistle to blow. Come back with concrete evidence before you start making accusations and I’ll gladly listen. If Froome is doping then he should be dealt with in the same manner as all who violate anti-doping rules. You simply cannot accuse without evidence, it is incorrect. Find me a case like the 1999 incident with Armstrong testing positive for Cortisone. If you find anything go to the UCI or WADA. Stop clogging up the comments section of cycling websites with your drivel and biased accusations.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    You have no right to say whether they’re doping or not, I’m not defending anyone here I’m just saying that you definitely don’t know if they’re dopers. Unless, can you read minds?

  • G3K762

    I guess since OJ Simpson was found not guilty, he didn’t do it. Life doesn’t always work out the way we like. Doesn’t mean that people don’t get away with stuff. People have the right to believe whatever they like. That’s what makes life interesting.

  • G3K762

    I would hate to think that it’s motorized bikes etc. If it turns out guys are using mechanical means, I’ll keep riding my own bike, but will never watch the pros again. Motors in bikes is little more than professional wrestling. Ugh. Please, don’t let that happen….

  • G3K762

    Exactly. In almost 30 years of watching, I’ve seen it over and over. “Not him”….until it is. I really hate to paint everyone with that brush, and equipment, training etc do change and performance does improve, but I remain skeptical.

    Just as equipment and training improves, so does doping technology. People just want to believe that “their guy” would never dope, and I am a huge fan of both Froome and Richie, but I wouldn’t bet a five spot that they’re clean.

  • G3K762

    That was the SAME argument LA used. Show me the evidence. Been a huge fan for almost 30 years, and I have been disappointed by guys you’d swear would never dope…..until they got caught. Innocent until proven guilty is nice, but Reagan had it right, “Trust, but verify”

  • G3K762

    He used the ride to gauge his fitness just prior to the tour. Of course, LA was doped at the time. Jeez………..

  • Ciaran Carroll

    No one has right to say anyone’s doping until there’s PROOF. Who are you to make that kind of statement? Are you a doctor for team sky? Froome is clean until proven otherwise. Modern EPO tests and biological passport testing make it much harder to use PEDs than ever, it’s not 1998 anymore. I can’t say for a fact that Froome is clean or not that’s not for me to say, what evidence do I have to suggest he is doping besides saying “he climbs so fast” or “Lance doped so that MUST mean Froome dopes too”. If anyone else feels like accusing Froome or any other athlete else for that matter, please have some concrete evidence before making said accusations. Durianrider claims that everyone at the top is on the juice but that always needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Is professional cycling still rife with drugs? I don’t know, and I can guarantee no one else here can say for sure. There are still people doping, of course, look at Tom Danielson. That doesn’t mean the majority of people are using.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    You have to remember Froome and Porte are gifted climbers whereas Lance was far from a climber, he was a sprinter. I’d say if someone like Peter Sagan started with EPO (hopefully doesn’t/ isn’t) he could get up to Froome/Porte’s times on the madone.

  • Clive

    One point , though is that Lance was never really a potential tour winner and few people believed the reduced bone density story, that supposedly improved Lance’s climbing skills, though I did at the time.
    A lot of people are saying Froome’s performance increase over the last 5 years is to good to be true, going from a tier two rider to top guy in just 4 seasons.

  • Bieber_Hater


  • jonathan polley

    It’s a quote from David Miller’s ‘Racing Through the Dark’. Context is everything, to Mr Miller a highly trained continental level rider is probably a donkey.

  • Paddy

    So a couple of clean riders wipe out Lance’s record?? Lance should ask for a refund on his prescription charges. Everyone juicing on EPO , growth hormone, blood transfusions , Ozone should now stop and cycle clean as Ritchie shows you don’t need it to beat dopers.

  • bruno azevedo

    there is a reason Sky are doing well all round and if it was because of drugs it would have surfaced.they are pushing the limits all round.

  • bruno azevedo

    better bikes, believe it

  • durgadas

    Here is the answer to every cycling-related competition Internet comment, henceforth: Quite a LOT of people have been faster than Fausto Coppi, Jaques Anquetil and ALL their peloton-mates. Therefore, everyone who has ridden and competed since then, and gone faster is a DOPER. Anyone who has ridden faster than 1 hour for 40km, even in a pack is also a DOPER. Including all recreational cyclists since 1965. Including people with double-panniers who just happen to ride fast. ALL DOPERS. I win the Internet!

  • Billy

    Edward, as any criminal investigator or judge will happily tell you, that ISN’T evidence. Its prejudice. What you think about them or it is an irrelevance as well. You are aware that cheats have to be caught using irrefutable facts? Many have been. Porte and Froome aren’t among them. Maybe one day they will be. And maybe they never will be. Your baseless suspicions mean nothing in that respect.

    Your whole argument seems to be that a clean athlete could never beat a doped one. In which case your understanding of the science is as faulty as your legal opinions. Because THAT’S NOT TRUE!

  • Edward M.

    The doping “American”. That statement pretty much sums up your defense of European riders.

  • Edward M.

    This has to be one of the best lines of thinking I’ve heard yet. These would be stories I’d love to hear. But sadly, just as the riders have an incentive to keep things hidden, so do the journalists who want to keep their regular employment.

  • Edward M.

    Bikes have always gotten better, but Greg Lemond’s 1989 TT average speed record is still faster than the entire Pro peloton 25 years on. A bike is a bike. Bike snobs tend to believe that the bikes contribute significantly to increased speed, but these are usually the same guys who drop major cash on a ride and still struggle to not get dropped.The road surface and wind would make a much larger difference than a bike.

  • Edward M.

    Donkeys into racehorses? At amateur levels I can somewhat agree. But at the top of the the pro peloton? Those guys are tremendously gifted and well trained athletes. You could say it turned racehorses into faster rachorses, but no donkey of a rider is taking EPO and then winning a 100km mountain stage.

  • Edward M.

    On the contrary, I have always felt that the existence of doping in cycling was secondary to the effort, time and dedication that the top pros put in. Lance trained like a madman. He also applied the same discipline to his doping regimen. Clean or not, for these two to post those times is an awe inspiring thing, and I’m sure it required the same hard work and dedication. The drugs at the highest levels of sport don’t really bother me, it’s the game of keeping it all a secret that makes it so unbearable. Top level bodybuilding fans are under no illusions that the athletes are clean, and so it sets a realistic expectation where one can then appreciate the hard work and dedication needed to get the end result. Instead of always wondering if anyone is “cheating”.

  • Edward M.

    KOM – The Madone ;-p

  • Edward M.

    If these two were Americans on top of that time sheet all of these blissfully ignorant Internet experts would be hopping on your bandwagon. The bias when it comes to doping in cycling really gets tiring. The CIRC report basically stated that among other forms of cheating, micro dosing of testosterone and EPO is occurring RIGHT NOW. But, because they purged Lance all is right with the sport.

  • Edward M.

    EPO is not in the past. They are micro dosing now, as stated in the CIRC report. The advantages are smaller, but they’re still to be had. And without 24 HR testing, you are clear in the morning.

  • Edward M.

    On occasion. That was certainly not the norm.

  • Edward M.

    It was all destructive talk until the evidence came to light.

  • Edward M.

    Here’s the evidence, they beat his dope fueled time by a minute. these two are laughing about how they can tell you this with a straight face and you just believe it. All the while telling you and every other Armstrong hater how clean the peloton is.

  • Edward M.

    So…they are “smashing” the drug addicts time, the one who was also a notoriously hard trainer, and people just accept it like it’s normal. Right, Armstrong must be running their doping program I guess.

  • Giant Bikes Break

    Great questions. It would be easy to say ‘money talks’ and few teams have as much money as Team Sky but magazines need to keep advertisers happy and teams on board if journalists are to get access to the teams and the publications are to say afloat. So here’s an idea – in the current spirit of CIRC and talk of ‘truth and reconciliation’ how about the cycling press tell us their side of the ‘dark days of doping’ and how they think they played a part (or not) in covering up the problem or even adding to the pressure to dope. The glossing over Valverde’s doping and continued denial suggest the cycling press would rather forget about doping but they are (a vital) part of the cycling ecosystem so need to accept that they play a part in perpetuating doping.

  • Lee Rodgers

    OK can anyone tell my why no one is asking two vital questions here – why Porte didn’t explain how this was possible, knowing the state cycling is in and the questions people like you all here would have? And why the journalist of this piece is doing the same old job of simply relaying stuff and not questioning anything? It’s back to the old days, in that sense, some of you are right. And it is good that people are asking questions about doping, it is just that they are generally not the right ones. Transparency is what we need and journos doing their jobs. from crankpunk

  • Ryan (@thydevourer666)

    There’s no way can compare the times of these two without looking at other things. Bikes have definitely got better, has the road been resurfaced? What was the wind like? Did the rider have to slow down at any point for traffic?

  • Billy

    Still waiting for the evidence. “Because I think so”, “Its obvious” and laughing don’t count as evidence.

  • MMaster

    Those times are timed efforts, not race times. It (Col de la Madone) has been used by riders to benchmark fitness (as noted, in a competitive way amongst themselves)

  • KarenK

    Zero evidence? lol

  • Billy

    That’s the sort of argument that is indeed 1=2. I know only this: innuendo will never be evidence. There was evidence that Lance doped, solid evidence, and the UCI knew it and broke their own rules (in 1999) to keep him racing. All the rest is just internet chat. Evidence proves things. The rest is just entirely destructive talk.

  • mdf

    Let’s assume — cough — Armstrong was not doped when he set the record. (A premise on par with “let’s assume that 1 = 2, or the speed of light is infinite”, but hey!)

    From page 57 of the CIRC report, we read:

    “It has been reported that increases in performance by micro
    dosing EPO (as one form of continued doping) are now perhaps between 3-5%.”

    It must clearly be just an amazing coincidence that the new record is almost exactly 3% more than Armstrong’s assumed “clean” performance.

    Take note that I’m just yanking on your chain here — training technique, equipment, and pharmacological improvements over the 15 years will handily explain the improvements.

  • Billy

    I think you are doped. That statement is as reasonable as throwing a blanket of guilt of people on zero evidence.

  • Billy

    How doped was Armstrong when he set his time? Do you know? Was he doped at all? The level of assumption in your comment is staggering.

  • jonathan polley

    problem is EPO turned “donkeys into race horses”. Maybe the race horses are finally winning. Lets hope.

  • jonathan polley

    Unless the Garmin was in a boot of a car……………………..

  • KarenK

    Keep in mind that the benefits from doping can come later. A cyclist who has doped for years but then quits can still benefit later.

  • mdf

    “I hope you all watch other sports (100m running) with the same cynical approach.”

    You would be a fool to think any elite athlete is not a mechanically, electronically, and chemically enhanced genetic freak.

    I strongly recommend you don’t watch any sports — direct participation is far more healthy for both the body and the mind.

  • Rob

    “Move on, and help make this sport better by showing support for monumental efforts like Ritchie’s.”

    Thats not what would make this sport better.

  • Adele

    How clever

  • John Westwell

    He didn’t win the Vuelta last year, Contador did.

    But everyone’s suspicions were raised, he wasn’t offered a new contract with his team, bummed around doing nothing with Lampre for a season and where is he now? And the blood that was taken is still available, and as new procedures or new information become available, there is the option to re-test his blood.
    This is what happened with Armstrong, whose 1999 tests were re-examined and the details leaked to L’Equipe. Along with the damning evidence contained in Tyler Hamilton’s book (another doper who was uncovered later), that was the beginning of the end for him.

  • Mark

    Isn’t it sad that in the sport we all love (I assume you all like cycling as you are reading and posting on a cycling website), that whenever a record is broken or a great attack is made that you think the rider must be doping. There never seems to be the respect for the effort that the record / attack would require, nor is there any regard of how good some of these riders are. I hope you all watch other sports (100m running) with the same cynical approach. Move on, and help make this sport better by showing support for monumental efforts like Ritchie’s. If you continue to be sceptical about everything in this sport, you and all others that continually bring up doping will just make sure that pro riders will never ever share any data with the general public in fear that they will be branded a doper. I want to know how fast these riders are and how they compare to each other, it is the same reason that makes Strava such a popular application, that drive to beat and compare yourself with thousands of others. Ritchie 4 the Giro 2015.

  • Bieber_Hater

    fvcking whatever

  • Two Pork Pies

    Are those times all from training rides or are some from TdF stages? I ask because I can go quickly up a hill if I make one my goal on a short ride but less quickly if I’m going a long way. I assume that’s the same for pros. It is important to compare like with like.

  • Samuel G

    what are you on about?

  • elan

    Perhaps if no reference had been made to Lance then he would have been okay.And going for a sprint lasting so many minutes is not like winning the Giro,and you cant compare Port to Lance,doping or not.

  • jship

    Why dope to ride a training climb though?

  • Adele

    So clean Richie Porte is faster up the Madone than the biggest doper in cycling??? Riiiiiiight!!!

  • zero

    Vis: Big Mig.

  • Kurt Bauer

    Wow, how did those two squeaky-clean Skyboys smoke all those cheaters?

  • John

    Totaly agree, but it aint epo ! Think more down the lines of electronics 🙂

  • John

    Your all way out of the ball park, epo is in the past, and is no longer the favoured method of enhancement. It would be beyond your imagination what systems are in place now to improve a riders performance

  • KarenK

    I speak my opinion based on decades of observation. Decades. You sound EXACTLY like the Lance defenders, except this time it’s Sky and Froome. sigh

  • “Froome is more genetically gifted” that makes me laugh.. I’m with Karen

  • ESP podcast

    How so Karen? You cannot say that by this limited observational data set. Understand the science before you comment on it.

    Let me be clear, I am not assuming they’re clean. I’m just not assuming they’re doped. There are numerous factors to be considered here, including the fact that Lance was probably a high responder to drugs and Froome is more genetically gifted.

  • Vertigo

    Recommended reading: The Sports Gene. Not all performance improvement is down to doping.

  • KarenK

    Remember last year when Chris Horner said he was going to win the Vuelta, and then went on to win the Vuelta? It is very clear to me that there is still cheating, and that the testing isn’t legit. If the cheaters weren’t always a few steps ahead we wouldn’t have this problem. So I just don’t buy it when you say “…and if he’s doping, it will be revealed.”

  • John Westwell

    So, let’s assume Richie Porte is doping. He records his time for the climb and … tells the whole world. Does that not seem a bit odd? In the mid-2000s, when riders were trying to avoid the testers, they were training in all black kit and keeping a low profile.

    Porte is a good climber on short climbs, he has no history of doing well on the longer climbs in three week tours. If he does well in the Giro, he will undoubtedly be targeted by drug testers, and if he’s doping, it will be revealed. As I said before, if not now then in the future.

  • KarenK

    EPO may be in the past but doping certainly isn’t.

  • John Westwell

    EPO is in the past – it’s possible to detect it, even when micro dosing. No one knows how much doping there is in the peloton now, but the evidence is that it is much reduced. Anyone who dopes will be caught, if not now, then at a future date when their samples are re-tested – that’s essentially what happened to Lance Armstrong.

    And as a number of people have pointed out before (including me), footballers, athletes and tennis players were all clients of Doctor Fuentes. Are they all still doping? They certainly aren’t subjected to the same rigorous testing, and instead threaten anyone who suggests there’s a problem with a lawsuit.

  • KarenK

    You say “epo years” as if doping is all in the past. Doping/cheating is rampant in pro cycling.

  • KarenK

    Col de la Madone

    Richie Porte 29:40
    Chris Froome 30:09
    Tom Danielson 30:24
    Lance Armstrong 30:45
    Tony Rominger 31:30
    Tyler Hamilton 32:32

  • John Westwell

    The evidence on the tv screen is that riders put in an attack, get a gap, then are gradually reeled in. During the epo years, they got a gap and then stayed away.

  • KarenK

    The evidence is right there on your TV screen. Pro cycling hasn’t changed at all. The peloton is full of confirmed cheats and it rewards those that keep quiet.

  • beating the time of someone loaded with epo by 1 minute

  • Ben Sartori

    Strava…..or it didn’t happen

  • Maarten Bressinck

    One has to be a little suspicious when the time of a heavily doped Armstrong gets beaten by nearly a minute.

  • Billy

    If you think they aren’t…. show us the evidence!

  • KarenK

    If you think Porte and Froome are clean, you aren’t paying attention.

  • Jorge Alves

    The drug addict Armstrong , had a gift to ruin everything…. Lets just forget the doping american ……