Richie Porte pushes the pace at the Tour of the Alps.

Porte: If necessary, Ineos could return to ‘the old Sky tactics of riding the train’

Will Richie Porte and the Ineos Grenadiers bring back a tried and true tactic in support of Richard Carapaz at the Giro d'Italia?

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Two days out from the start of a Giro d’Italia where his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Richard Carapaz will be among the top favorites, Richie Porte has said that the squad isn’t ruling out any tactical avenues at the moment. That includes, apparently, returning to a tried and true approach from the days of yore.

“At the end of the day, if we have to revert back to the old Sky tactics of riding the train, we’ll do that,” Porte said on Wednesday in a pre-Giro media availability. “Richard obviously has shown in Catalunya he doesn’t mind doing the old long bomb attacks, it’s nice to leave other teams guessing too. On paper, we have one of the strongest teams, call it boring but it’s not boring winning bike races like the Giro.”

Porte himself played a key role in some of Sky’s most effective mountain trains at the Tour de France, supporting Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and Chris Froome en route to his overall victories in 2013 and 2015 by squashing out attacks from potential rivals. Years have passed since then, and the squad now known as the Ineos Grenadiers has not relied as heavily on riding tempo in the mountains as it did for all those seasons, but the team brings multiple riders capable of setting a hard pace in support of Carapaz at the Giro.

Wout Poels, Geraint Thomas, and Richie Porte help set the tempo for Chris Froome at the 2015 Tour de France.

In Porte and Pavel Sivakov, the team has two other Grand Tour top 10 finishers behind Carapaz, with plenty more firepower likely to come from Jonathan Castroviejo, Ben Tulett, Jhonatan Narváez, Salvatore Puccio, and Ben Swift.

Porte noted that things are not yet completely “defined” in terms of the roles that he and Sivakov will play on this or that mountain stage, and that “Pavel is going to have days where he’s feeling better than me.” As such, tactics will likely be adjusted to account for the day-to-day differences in form that take place over a Grand Tour.

They’ll also need to be adjusted as the team’s rivals play their own cards. Porte named a former winner as a key rider to keep an eye on alongside some of the other big names.

“I think for me that Tom Dumoulin is probably the big dark horse,” Porte said. “He won this race, let’s see how he is. If he’s back to his best it’ll be hard to beat him. I think [Simon] Yatesy showed earlier this week that he’s obviously going very well too, and then another Aussie Jai Hindley, I’m sure he’s stepped it up a notch. Just off the top of my head those are probably the guys we’ll have to watch out for.”

The Ineos Grenadiers head into the race fresh off of a strong Classics campaign that saw the team take multiple big victories, including Dylan van Baarle’s Monumental win at Paris-Roubaix. In other words, the team will look to keep the good times rolling at the Giro, and Porte was confident that the squad has the pieces in place to make that happen as the race starts in Budapest on Friday.

“I think it’s nice when you’re sat there watching Dylan van Baarle winning Roubaix, Kwiato [Michał Kwiatkowski] winning Amstel, Magnus [Sheffield], it was nice for morale to see us winning different races,” Porte said.

Now, it’s up to Porte and his teammates, with Richard Carapaz leading the way, to continue the team’s recent run of results in the season’s first Grand Tour.

“I think we’re pretty excited. We won the Giro the last two years in a row,” Porte said. “We’ve got a great leader in Richard Carapaz. Looking forward to it.”

Editors' Picks