After a succession of mishaps and a time trial performance affected by injury, Sky's leader is almost nine minutes behind race favourite Alberto Contador

Sky’s Richie Porte questioned whether he should continue in the Giro d’Italia after crashing and losing time in the first two weeks. In the long 59.4-kilometre time trial through the Prosecco hills to Valdobbiadene today, 24 hours after crashing on his left side, he lost a further four minutes and six seconds.

After the stage, which Sky team-mate Vasil Kiryienka won, Porte sat 17th overall at 8-52 minutes behind race leader Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). If he pulled the plug early on the Giro, he would have more time to recover and prepare for helping Chris Froome in the Tour de France this July.

“I’ll have a talk with the team physio, Dave and Tim, but in some ways it might make sense and get out of here and look forward to the Tour,” Porte told Cycling Weekly.

“It’s massively disappointing, but after yesterday, I was gutted. I was on the massage table, things just sinking in, I don’t think I did anything wrong, I’ve just been unlucky.”

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Porte rode to the team’s base in a hotel adjacent to the finish line. He sat and watched Kiryienka win the stage, then grabbed his bag to get into the team car. Beforehand, he stood under a bus stop to escape the rain and talk about his next move.

Richie Porte on stage fourteen of the 2015 Giro d'Italia

Richie Porte struggled during the crucial stage 14 time trial, and lost over four minutes to rival Alberto Contador

On the horizon are mostly mountains. Tomorrow, the stage finishes up to the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort at 1715 metres. After a rest day, it continues through the Alps until it reaches Milan on May 31.

“In theory [I’d go for stage wins if I continued], but the way my knee and hip felt today, I’m just not sure. I think I may be making up numbers to be honest,” Porte continued.

“We have a good medical staff to deal with [my injuries] but it is not an easy stage tomorrow. The penultimate climb is probably up there with Mortirolo. It is one of the hardest. We will just see.”

Porte missed his chance to lead team Sky last year when he fell sick in the spring. He had to skip the Giro and at the Tour, after Froome abandoned, he suffered a bad day. Later, he said he was dealing with pneumonia.

Richie Porte after a crash on stage thirteen of the 2015 Tour of Italy (Watson)

Richie Porte after a crash on stage thirteen of the 2015 Tour of Italy (Watson)

He came into the Giro this year as a hot favourite after overall wins in Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and Giro del Trentino, but he has suffered a series of setbacks in the Giro. In Forlì, he lost 47 seconds due to a puncture. The jury penalised him an additional two minutes because he took a wheel from a rival Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge). The crash yesterday on the wet roads around Venice to Jesolo further pushed him out of the hunt for his first Grand Tour win.

Porte looked disappointed, but tried to make light of his situation. He joked that the key lesson he learned from the Giro is not to take a wheel from another team.

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“It’s a Grand Tour, you always see that some guys have luck and some have bad luck,” he added. “For sure, I came in as good as condition as I could, I was motivated as ever, it felt that it was a massive opportunity, but it hasn’t worked out, but now I know what I need to do physically and mentally to prepare for this race.”

The pain suffered from the pile-up yesterday, 3.3 kilometres from the finish, made it too hard for Porte to do much more than 55th place in the Valdobbiadene time trial. He said his left hip and knee are bothering him.

“As soon as I started, I could feel it, I just couldn’t push,” he added. “It’s just disappointing. I know the form that I had when I began this Giro.”

 

  • SeanMcCuen

    maybe you and cal can show them how to man up.

  • poisonjunction

    This is just a wind-up by CW’s Gregor Brown!
    My edit: GB didn’t write the original headline – see below}

    Ask yourself WHY the writer uses the emotive word ‘QUIT’, when other riders ‘leave’. ‘withdraw’, or are ‘non-starters’?
    No, the use of the highly emotive verb winds up the cranky ‘armchair peleton’, few of whom would know the difference between a crankshaft and a bottombracket axle!

    Porte is a Pro Cyclist, which means his sole means of financial support is through his continuing ability to perform as a cyclist. His team have a financial interest in him, and it may be outside his remit to continue in an injured state if rest will be to his, and the Teams advantage ie. in future support or as team leader in forth coming events.

    He has already proved his ability to lead for Team Sky this year, and throughout his career he’s been key to many of their successes.

    Edit: 2340hrs 24 May. . . . . Wondering WHY there is reference to ‘quitting’ and ‘Porte’ here and by others above?

    Well the verb ‘quit’ was part of the original ‘BLOCK LETTER HEADLINE’ of this article . . . . . several hours after I commented, the headline was completely rephrased omitting that four letter word !!!

    It’s worth reminding myself, that ‘Headline’s’ are NOT written by article writer’s. I named Gregor as ‘the writer’ responsible and apologise to him . . . in fact the ‘wind up writer’ responsible is higher up the ‘food chain’, normally I think the Editor! You notice no one admit’s responsibility, or apologises!!

  • captainPerfect

    He shouldn’t have told everyone we was going to win it before the start. Wiggins has often made similar predictions. The latest being Paris-Roubaix and the recent 10m TT, none of which came to pass. Same thing from Froome. Predictions appears to be the kiss of death at Sky

  • Michele

    Not you cahern. Not you. I look forward to you becoming a professional cyclist and showing everyone else first hand just how soft they are.

  • JoshLyons

    Actually James, I don’t think he should quit – never liked quitters. Cry baby, no way…but I’m beginning to seriously doubt whether Richie is actually grand tour (3 week) winning material. Whether he will ever lead a team in a grand tour again remains to be seen.

  • cahern1968

    If he doesn’t race he can’t win. Who knows what the next week holds, things may not be going well for Porte at the moment, but who is to say he won’t have a good third week and his rivals a bad one. To quote the poet Robert Service “Just draw on your grit it’s dead easy to quit, it’s the keeping on living that’s hard.”

  • James Rider

    The going hasn’t gotten tough. He’s just been subjected to a string of rotten luck. Arguably, he could have been leading this Giro had he only been behind by 22 seconds still. Calling him a “cry baby” is rather harsh: if you have no hopes whatsoever of realistically winning the race and are 9 minutes down, there is no point in continuing and putting yourself under more physical stress. Look at the sprinters: are they cry babys? No. They can’t get anything more out of the race so why bother suffering in the mountains for no reward?

  • Nita Heroe Permatasari

    disappointed. He basically cracked mentally when he is faced by adversity. First the wheel chance. Where’s his team? Second, the crash. Why on earth he was busy fixing his bike while his team mate standing around him? Contador took Tossato’s bike that’s bigger than him. At least he minimized the time loss. Porte has already given up as soon as the tough get going.

    Contador 2011 TDF didn’t go as he planned. He crashed, injured his knee, but kept fighting and finished in top 5. That’s the mark of great champion. What a cry baby. At least he owed it to his team mate. (ow well, where were they anyway when the puncture happened?(

  • cahern1968

    Is it just me or are the current crop of so called top level riders just a bunch of big girl’s blouses? The work ethics of some of them are appalling, maybe they should get a talk from Cal Ripkin the baseball player.

  • JoshLyons

    Form is temporary but class is permanent. My issue is; what the heck was he doing standing around fixing the chain after yesterdays crash without grabbing Kiri’s bike and completing the 3km like Bertie did…brain fade. I didn’t see any external (visible) damage to knee or hip. So bloody disappointed.