Q&A: Tour Down Under Winner Richie Porte

Winner for the first time of  his home World Tour stage race, the Tour Down Under, Richie Porte (BMC) is quizzed about his race and what the victory means to him

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Q&A: Tour Down Under Winner Richie Porte
Photo credit: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo 

Richie, how does it feel to win the Santos Tour Down Under?
Richie: “It’s an incredible relief. I think back to nine years ago when this race really kicked off my career. This is where I came a wild card. Then two years later I was in the WorldTour. So to win it is a massive relief. I’ve been close two times before so it just feels fantastic. Cycling is kicking massive goals in Australia with the crowds you’re seeing on the road. I must say I’m so happy with my team too. They rode incredibly today and the whole week so it’s just an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction to win this.”

When were you able to enjoy the victory?
Richie: “It’s not over until you ride over the line. I felt good and the team put in me in a great position all day and kept me out of trouble. So it was probably the most uneventful final criterium that I’ve done on this circuit, so that’s thanks to the team.”

You first rode the Santos Tour Down Under in 2008. How would you look at your career since then?
Richie: “It’s been a journey for sure with ups and downs. There have been so many great people who have helped me. I’d like to say thanks to my parents and the teams that I’ve ridden for over the years. Hopefully it will be a great season for me and I’m really looking forward to getting back to Europe and getting stuck in.”

How much confidence does this win give you?
Richie: “Quite a few of the guys here will do a program in the lead up to the Tour de France with me. That’s exciting that I’ve got a team built around me for the first time ever. I’ve often been the plan B but BMC Racing Team has put a lot of faith in me this year. I think today I’ve shown that I can repay that faith they’ve put in me.”

How does this bode for the rest of your season?
My next race is Paris-Nice. I love that race. It’s sort of my adopted home race in Europe. It’s early days but I’m ok with any pressure. If there was pressure here from the team, then I didn’t feel it. Nothing was really ever said. It was just in the media that people were saying that I was the favorite.”

More from the team …

Rohan Dennis on Sixth Place Overall:  “We did everything perfectly. Obviously I didn’t have great luck on one of the stages but the best man in the peloton won, and the most-deserving. He’s been second twice and he’s always constantly coming back just as motivated every year. The fact that he’s able to do that every year in, year out, is impressive and I’m really, really happy for him.”

“I haven’t been quiet about the transformation from pure time trials and one week races to Grand Tours. That was my role here this week in that whenever something went wrong or I got dropped or when you would sit up and try and save energy, it was all about trying to minimize any time loss. It’s all practice for when I go to the Giro d’Italia this year, or the Tour de France or Vuelta a Espana in other years. It’s all about making sure I don’t sit up when something goes wrong or I have some bad luck, it’s about being consistent. It was a learning curve this week.”

Fabio Baldato, Sports Director: “I’m really, really proud of Richie Porte and the entire team. We came here wanting to win with Richie and he was really motivated for a good result, and good start to the season. The team was just perfect. Richie obviously showed how strong he was on Paracombe and Willunga, but the way all six of his teammates rode around him and for him every stage was really impressive.”

“I think this is a really good sign for Richie for the rest of the season. To start the year here well on home soil gives him a lot of confidence for when he returns to Europe. The entire team, riders and staff, can be really happy with this week. To start the season with a UCI WorldTour win for BMC Racing Team is a great way to start.”




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