An experienced support rider who helped Chris Froome to four Tour de France titles, Porte managed a career-best third finish in the same race in 2020. He has also competed in every Tour since 2011.
However, following the conclusion of the race last July he signalled his intention to step away in his final year of riding, citing a lack of enjoyment last year as a motivating factor to miss the race he has become synonymous with.
Porte told The Age: “I didn’t enjoy my Tour last year and to be quite fair it’s not the race where you want people that aren’t enjoying themselves. I just want to try and enjoy my last year, which the team are totally good with."
For Porte, finishing third in 2020 achieved a monumental ambition of his to podium at the Tour, and upon his return to Ineos Grenadiers at the start of 2021 he had the personal aim of competing as a support rider again.
However, his Critérium du Dauphiné win a couple of weeks before saw him touted as one of the team's leaders alongside Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Richard Carapaz. He attributes the heightened pressure he felt to his subsequent lack of enjoyment in the race.
He continued: "Tadej Pogačar is a massive favourite, but then we had four guys, myself included, who probably could have really done something in the race, but I didn’t enjoy having that pressure, then not having the support either.
“I also got what I wanted out of the Tour in 2020 when I podiumed.
“That was something I was always striving for and then to finally get it, I don’t feel like I have that much business with the Tour. Yeah, sure I would have loved to have won an individual stage, but I can retire happy having not done that. It’s something I would have loved to have done, but it didn’t happen.”
The 37-year-old has appeared three times before at the Giro, with the 2010 version the first Grand Tour he competed in. He finished seventh in the general classification that year, and claims Ineos Grenadiers encouraged him to return to where it started for him in May.
"The team guided me that way," "I remember having that conversation with [deputy team principal] Rod [Ellingworth] last year at the Tour of Britain, and he said, ‘Yeah that would be pretty cool if you’d be happy to go there.’ And the Giro was my first Grand Tour.
“My big aim is to try and enjoy it. As stressful as the job is and high pressure, I know it’s been a pretty incredible way to earn a living and see the world. Living on the other side of the world has got its challenges, but it’s also a pretty cool thing to have done. It’ll be nice to enjoy that last European year."
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