Richie Porte says this year's edition of the Tour de France was his last.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider finished his 11th appearance at the race, riding as a domestique for Richard Carapaz having targetted the general classification in 2020 when he finished third overall.
Porte had been touted as one of the team's leaders alongside Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Carapaz, having displayed strong form heading into the Tour as he won the Critérium du Dauphiné just a couple of weeks before.
Crashes put paid to any chance of Porte contesting high up in the GC however, with a chaotic stage one seeing him lose 2-16 to the day's winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
The 36-year-old said however that it was "almost nice" to ride the race without the "stress and pressure" of competing for an overall placing. Porte said that he felt like he'd accomplished what he needed to at the Tour with his third-place finish behind winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and runner-up Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) in last year's edition.
“Definitely it’s the last [Tour] I’ll do,” Porte told the Herald Sun (opens in new tab).
“I think I ticked the box last year with a podium finish, I’m not getting any younger and the race is only getting more and more crazy, so I feel like it’s time to pull the pin on my Tour career. It’s been a nice run, but it’s time.
“I’d say compared to last year when I rode for the general classification at the Tour for myself, it’s a much different scenario.
“Without all that stress and pressure every day, it’s been almost nice if you’re not needed you can get out of the chaos of the bunch sprints and do a job on a climb earlier and then not have to contest the final."
After helping Richard Carapaz to a third-place finish at this year's Tour, Porte now turns his attention to the 234km Olympic Games road race in Tokyo on Saturday, where he'll lead the four-man Australian team which includes Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, and Lucas Hamilton. Cameron Meyer and Jack Haig were originally named in the team, but both have been forced to pull out; Meyer for personal reasons and Haig following a crash at the Tour.
Porte will also race the 44.2km time trial next Wednesday, though his team-mate Dennis will be the nation's best hope for a gold in the event.
He will hope for better luck than he had in Rio 2016 on the Tokyo road race course, which, with over 4000m of climbing should suit his strengths. Porte crashed out of the road race five years and broke his shoulder, having been one of the pre-race favourites.
“It does feel like a lifetime ago,” Porte told News Corp.
“It wasn’t the nicest Olympic experience obviously ending up in a hospital in Rio, so it would be nice to go these Games, albeit a strange Games for everybody, and have a bit better Olympic experience.
“It’s always nice to represent the country and something I get excited for, it’s a big motivation for sure.”
The Olympic Games men's road race takes place on July 24.
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