Richie Porte pulls out of World Championships 2018 road race

The Australian was due to lead the national team in Innsbruck, but the position will be given to another rider

Porte will start his season at the Tour Down Under Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Australian favourite Richie Porte (BMC Racing) has pulled out of the 2018 World Championship road race due to illness.

Porte was due to lead the Australian team in Innsbruck on Sunday but has confirmed he will not feature.

The team decided Porte’s position as leader should be given to another rider after he contracted a respiratory infection at the end of the Vuelta a España

Porte said: “I’m really disappointed to miss the road race. It was a big goal for me at the end of the season and I had been training and racing with the road race in mind.

“However, recent illness means my preparation has been far from ideal and for a race of this difficulty, with more than 4,600 metres of climbing, you need to have the best preparation possible to be up there.”

>>>UCI Road World Championships 2018: dates, route, where to watch and more

Porte has struggled with injury and illness over the last two seasons, suffering a horrific crash on a descent in the 2017 Tour de France.

In this year’s Tour, the 33-year-old crashed on the Roubaix stage and was forced to pull out of the race.

He returned to the peloton at the Vuelta but again struggled due to illness.

Porte said: “Within the Cycling Australia team, we have decided that it is in the team’s best interest if my place goes to someone else.

“I wish the whole Aussie team the best and will be cheering them on from home.”

BMC Racing’s team doctor, Dr Max Testa said Porte needs more time to recover from the illness.

>>>Quick-Step Floors defeat Sunweb to win UCI Road World Championships men’s team time trial

Dr Testa said: “Richie developed an upper respiratory infection towards the end of the Vuelta a España which has required him to take antibiotics and stop training.

“He will need a few more days off the bike to recover properly which means it does not make sense for him to line up at the World Championships.

“Richie will resume training next week and will be able to race again this season.”

Cycling Australia announced over the weekend that Porte’s place would be taken by 24-year-old Nick Schultz.

The team said the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rider will take on a climbing support role.

Australia Cycling’s team performance director Simon Jones: “No one is more disappointed than Richie, and he knows he won’t be able to perform to his high expectations.

“The team has worked really hard behind the scenes to pull the game plan together, and we will regroup and refocus during the week ahead.”

Schultz said: “It is an honour to be selected to represent Australia at the World Championships.

“I will give my maximum to deliver what is required.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.