When Chris Froome crashed out of the 2014 Tour de France, Richie Porte was thrust into the limelight, but the Australian doesn’t expect to see a repeat of that this year.
Froome called it a day on stage five last year and Porte started his leadership well, climbing up the rankings to second overall until illness set in on stage 13 and he slumped to 23rd by the time he reached Paris.
But the Tasmanian told the Sydney Morning Herald that he’s solely focussed on being Froome’s wingman at the Tour, not on the pressure that may fall on his shoulders if the leader drops out again.
“Of course, [last year’s crash] is going to play on his mind a little bit,” Porte said. “But all you can do is stay at the front of the race to minimise the risk of crashing.
“Chris has the team around him, so he will have huge confidence. But the first nine days are probably as stressful as you are going to get ever for the start of the Tour.
“How we manage those first nine days [for Froome] … we have the key to do it with guys like [Ian] Stannard and [Luke] Rowe and Geraint Thomas there for those days.”
Porte comes to the Tour having led Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia in May. Crashes and illegal wheel changes resulted in the Australian falling out of contention in the overall standings – eventually withdrawing on stage 16 to focus on his Tour preparations.
He enjoyed a prosperous start to the 2015 season, winning Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya and the Giro del Trentino ahead of the Giro, with top-five overall finishes at the Tour Down Under and the Volta ao Algarve.
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