Richie Porte is “over the moon” to finally be on the podium in Paris at what is his 10th Tour de France.
The Australian rider leapfrogged Astana’s Miguel Ángel López to take the third spot in the general classification, and says this accomplishment feels like a victory.
“It’s an absolute dream. I mean, I grew up watching the Tour de France on the other side of the world, and seeing guys like Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans, Brad McGee, all these guys..to finally crack the podium here is an absolutely incredible feeling,” Porte said at his post-stage press conference.
“It’s probably going to take a little while to sink in…but it’s been a journey. I think most of you know the battles that I’ve had and everything, the drama along the way, but this feels really like a victory for me, I’m just over the moon to finally be on the podium at the Tour de France.”
The Trek-Segafredo rider knew coming into the time trial that he had a good chance of taking the podium, that he could have enough to beat López and that he would likely put in a stronger performance than Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) as well.
“I kind of knew that in a time trial, maybe I should be able to beat them,” Porte said. “But there’s always going to be those lingering doubts in the back of your mind…once I started getting time checks and they were saying with 3km to go ‘Richie, you’re going to get your dream’. That was such a sweet moment.”
Porte’s achievement was made even more special by the fact he missed the birth of his daughter during the race, something that has clearly been on the Australian’s mind ever since.
“When my son was born two years ago, it was probably harder to be honest because I had two nights with him and then I had to leave,” Porte admitted. “Once once the whole Coronavirus thing kicked off, and then the Tour was rescheduled, I guess that’s just me, isn’t it. The luck I have, I was going to miss the birth,” he joked.
“But my wife Gemma said to me go to the Tour, do your thing, she had a plan. The only thing she said to me was ‘if I turn the television on and you’re on the back of the peloton, then I’ll be pissed’.
“It was one of those things, the teams gave me the option that I could leave, which is, you know, that’s incredible to do that, they’re a very human team.
“You know nothing [else apart from his family] really matters. This is a game to be honest. So to miss the birth, [the podium] has kind of gone a little bit of the way to making this worthwhile.”
Porte was self-deprecating throughout the press conference, often referencing the poor luck he’s had in past editions of the Tour de France since leaving Team Sky in 2015 to become a Grand Tour contender in his own right. Finally, he has his reward.
“I came here in great shape. So I haven’t really felt the fatigue. The team never really put that much stress on me either. Every day has been full gas,” Porte explained.
“To be honest, I take my hat off to Roglič, it’s kind of brutal what happened to him today. I think that Jumbo-Visma really rode an incredible race and probably did deserve to win it, but it’s nothing against Pogačar because he’s a huge talent.
“I guess in some respects, he was lucky that Jumbo-Visma set such a cracking pace on the climbs and if you were able to hold the wheel of those guys then you kind of got a bit of a free ride.
“But [Pogačar] has got balls the way he went about it on the Peyresourde, he lost time on the crosswind stage and then took a lot back, chapeau the way he raced so aggressively.
“I don’t see it being like that next year, he’s going to be a bit of a marked man with the talent that he’s got…the sky’s the limit for Pogačar.”
If Pogačar isn’t able to defend his title next year, just as the young talent Egan Bernal (Ineos) wasn’t able to at this race, Porte will be an example to show if you just keep plugging away, eventually things can fall your way.