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  • Dave

    Great article Sophie.

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  • I actually don’t think he believes he can win the Tour. His language is still soft and noncommittal to me and has been like this for a few years.

    I hope he proves me wrong.

    • Samaway

      Anything is possible, but surely he would need the bad luck heaped on Froome, Contador, Aru, Quintana…

      • Dave

        Grand tour victories are won, not inherited.

        Even if all the first tier contenders you mentioned were to fall off the road, there’s no way that the other second tier riders would sit back and allow Porte’s claim to the throne to go uncontested.

    • Dave

      Yeah.

      I don’t think it would be fair to expect much different from him this year, he got stuck in a deep rut for a long time at Sky and that’s going to take a lot of work to change. BMC should probably avoid staying at the same hotel as Sky to avoid him instinctively offering to get Chris Froome a drink.

      BMC have probably hired him on a high-end domestique’s contract, with the expectation that he’ll be auditioning for a GC leader’s contract during the 2017 season.

      • Andy B

        Really? he had some pretty decent results for being in a deep rut then

        • Dave

          Maybe ‘routine’ is a better word than rut.

          For the last four years he’s been in a routine of getting to play a bit in the early season minor races, so long as it doesn’t affect his main job of working for Wiggins/Froome in the middle part of the year that Sky focuses on.

          This will not be an easy routine to break.

          • Andy B

            Yep routine makes more sense
            Hopefully his different approach to the year helps change this

            I don’t think you can maintain being as lean as he was at the start of last season for a long time
            Surely makes the body more susceptible to illness

            Peaking in time for the tour would be ideal without having overloaded his system

      • In my opinion if something solid (in relation to his own grand tour performance) doesn’t happen this year it never will. For me there absolutely no value in BMC waiting until 2017.

    • Arfy

      Perhaps he suffers from being a sensitive person, and the expectations of others get to him. This would explain why he doesn’t want to set high expectations of himself in the media, but underneath it all he’s still trying hard to win the Tour.

    • jules

      I think he can win it. cycling has gone a bit WWE since Lance stormed onto the scene and brought overt psychological warfare into GTs. but there are plenty of examples of ‘softer’ personalities winning – notably Indurain and arguably even Cadel, or Froome himself. the question is – does he have the inner self confidence?

      also I don’t like him conceding that Van Garderen has “more than me has got runs on the board” – Tejay may have finished higher up in the Tour standings, but he’s never quite looked like an elite climber. Porte has. but then he’s not done it consistently over 3 weeks. I think Porte and Tejay both have yet to prove themselves as genuine GT contenders – but they are both close.

      • Dave

        With Evans you could tell there was something tougher underneath the surface, at least in the years since he turned it up a level following the disappointment of coming second in the 2008 TdF.

        The same goes for Froome, he’s supremely confident even though he’s not the loudest guy around.

        Porte, on the other hand, reminds me more of Andy Schleck after losing the 2011 TdF broke him.

        • jules

          that’s a good summary

    • spicelab

      Exactly. You’ll never hear Contador, Nibali or Froome come out with phrases like “I’m confident I can be competitive” or “I know I’ll give it a good crack”.

      Even when Richie was in world-beating form in the lead up to the Giro last year he still wouldn’t say “I can win it”.

      • Knowing Richie personally (to some extent), I can say that he’s one of the most laid back and nonplussed people i’ve come across. I’m not sure how those qualities translate into a Grand Tour winner, but I’d rather know him for the person he is than give up his qualities to have the single minded focus of winning a Tour de France.

        • Andy B

          Agreed wade :) Richie is a good guy

        • Not sure of the relevance of this comment in the context of this discussion…

  • Il_falcone

    Physically he certainly has it. He seemed to be at ease during the first week of last year’s Giro when the others tried to distance the competition especially on that longer climb. For some reason he did not want to have the jersey at that early point in the race, so he only followed their attacks. And that performance came after being in great shape for already a too long time right from the start of the season.
    If he can reach that form again he’s certainly a real TdF contender. The confidence he seems to lack according to many observers will improve if he manages to win a mountain stage in a GT against the big names. And of course you’ll always need some luck.
    I rate his chances to be considerably bigger than TvG’s – not least because Porte is able to punch out deadly attacks – and I think that’s the real reason why BMC hired him. If they want to win the TdF for a second time they will need someone else than TvG.

    • kazoo

      BMC have never had enough strong climbers to support their team leader in the TDF, IMO. Evans was almost always alone, and it’s a testament to his strength that he won it without much support. Team Sky always seems to have three or four guys ushering Froome up the mountains–starting with Porte in years past. I’m not sure how it will play out with TvG, who is talented and showing pretty good form itself. I think BMC thinks Porte has the best chance to be team leader–but they will surely let the race play out and see which of the two is stronger, higher in the GC, etc. One of them is going to end up doing work for the other by the last week, I should think. It would be great to see either of the BMC guys win it.

  • Andy B

    I believe in Richie

  • lefthandside

    Got Richie to crack a smile last year on the final climb of the stage into gap (won by plaza with the infamous descent) with a cry of “do it for lonnie Richie!”. Hr was just sitting in the bunch, clearly sick as a dog, saving himself to help froomey in later stages. Don’t confuse quietness ot sensitivity with weakness. I hope he has the best of luck and gets a real chance at it, succeed or fail

  • Harri

    Porte did you know Froome called your mum mean things? go get him.

    • Dave

      Well he is from Tasmania…

  • Matt C

    Stay tuned for every “Tom, Dickhead and Harry” going onto the “Greek yoghurt and berries for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” diet.

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