Richie, please be okay…
At the start of the day, Richie Porte was thinking about challenging for the yellow jersey at the Tour de France. Now we all just hope he is okay. A terrible accident has ended his campaign in 2017.
Photo: Leon van Bon
“I think today it’s expected that it’s going to blow the GC apart.”
– Richie Porte 11.03am, 9 July 2017.
“It’s a hard stage, not just the last climb. It’s pretty hard all day.
“I hope I have good legs. I felt quite good yesterday on the bike. I think yesterday is going to take its toll on a lot of guys.
“Hopefully on that final climb I can get in a good position on the descent and we’ll see what happens on the run in to Chambéry.”
And then Renaat Schotte asked the crucial question: “You’re talking about the descent. Can you offer a few words on how dangerous it is?”
“We did it in the Dauphiné in the dry,” replied Porte. “It’s fast. I don’t think it’s necessary to take many risks on it but we’ll see how the other guys take it.”
He was there, in position like he had to be. Richie was, after all, a rider vying for the win at the 2017 Tour. But his challenge for the yellow jersey is over.
The descent claimed its victim. Almost a year on from his brutal crash during the Rio Olympics, Porte has again been carried away from a race that he had aspirations of winning in an ambulance.
Alas, you’ve probably seen the images. Alas, you cannot rewind and find out a way for it to conclude a different way. Alas, he hit the road with brutal force. Alas, he slid across the bitumen and slammed into the stone wall. Alas, he didn’t move.
We watch with goosebumps and hold our hands to our mouth and repeat a mantra: please be okay, please be okay… please be okay!
No one wants to see something so violent, so definitive, so dangerous. This is meant to be sport, not life-threatening antics broadcast around the world. Great cycling is a fine balance: on the edge of sanity it’s fascinating. But when it comes crashing down like what Richie did on the descent of the Mont du Chat, it’s horrible to watch. The gut churns and all we want is for the rider who we were cheering for only moments earlier to be okay, to be safe.
If only we could have seen a raised thumb as he was lifted into the ambulance. If only he didn’t slip off the left side of the road and bounce his way to the right.
What has happened can’t be changed but, as we wait for the official diagnosis, we collectively repeat our wishes: Richie, please be okay.
– By Rob Arnold
Fabio Baldato addresses the media in Chambéry.
Update from BMC Racing
• Team Release: stage 9, 2017 Tour de France.
* * * * *
“Richie Porte was transferred to the Centre Hopitalier Metropole Savoie in Chambery where he was evaluated by Dr. Zerr. He underwent X-rays to determine the extent of his injuries. His condition was stable from the beginning, he was responsive and he remembered everything that happened before and after the crash,” Dr. Testa explained.
“X-rays confirmed a non-displaced right clavicle fracture and a non-displaced right acetabulum fracture. Richie also suffered extensive superficial abrasions involving the right side of his body. At this stage, the injuries will not require surgery. The plan is to re-evaluate Richie tomorrow morning and confirm that he is stable enough to be transferred home.”