The Australian rider demonstrated that his fitness was on track for success at the Tour de France, with a win of the general classification at the popular preparation choice, the Tour de Suisse.
Porte moved into the top spot after following an attack on stage five, keeping hold of the yellow jersey to the end.
Porte fished second on the GC at the Tour Down Under, actually finishing neck and neck with victor Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), who was awarded the overall win following three second place finishes.
Richie Porte: 2017 season
Porte has been tipped as one of the key contenders for the Tour de France general classification.
In 2016, riding for BMC, he began sharing leadership with Tejay van Garderen, but it was decided he should take sole leadership half way through. The Australian placed fifth overall, despite fighting to regain time after a mechanical.
Porte held a similar position on GC, until stage five – when a summit finish split the key GC contenders. The Australian rider was on the right side of the split, moving into fifth place. However, a crash on stage nine put him out of the race – a disappointing end to a Tour many fans had him pipped to win.
Richie Porte: career to date
Porte began racing in 2006 after quitting triathlon and quickly progressed as one of the professional peloton’s most gifted riders. A ninth place finish in the 2008 Tour Down Under signalled his emergence in the sport, and preceded a move to Australian team Praties.
Porte’s sudden rise up the general classifications and against the clock earned him his first professional contract with Team Saxo-Bank for the 2010 and 2011 season. Porte quickly made an impression, winning the Tour de Romandie TT.
2011 did not replicate the GC heights of the previous year, instead his season’s highs confined to races against the clock. Selected once more for the Giro, Porte disappointed with an 81st placed finish overall. Porte made his Tour de France debut in 2011 and came fifth in the Tour’s only TT.
But, despite (or perhaps because of) being part of a Tour de France-winning team for the third time in four years, the Tasmanian was keen to get his own chance as team leader and left Team Sky for BMC Racing in August. Porte got off the mark for his new team quickly, soloing to victory on the queen stage of the Tour Down Under in January to lay an down early marker for the rest of the season.
With initial excitement at how BMC was set up at the Tour in 2016, with Tejay van Garderen also looking for GC opportunities, it became apparent it couldn’t work as Porte took over sole leadership halfway through the race. Finishing fifth overall, the Australian had worked hard to get back into the race’s contention after some poor luck saw he mechanical early on, dropping down the leaderboard.