Richie Porte interview: pt3 – team-mates
We have already spoken about the training Richie Porte has been doing as he approaches his next big race rendezvous: the Criterium du Dauphiné in France. This comes in June, while on 1 July, he expects to be there in Düsseldorf ready to race for the yellow jersey when the Tour de France gets underway in Germany.
The reaction to Richie’s explanation of his training in Monaco and the French Alps was well shared on social media and much commentary offered.
He speaks in a candid way and describes his actions in a most nonchalant manner. It’s been a pleasure being able to present Richie Porte at a critical time of his career. The events that lie ahead are ones he knows he can have a big influence on.
We wait with interest to see what comes from the rest of the season. For now, we recognise his contribution to professional racing in 2017 – with two WorldTour stage race titles already to his name… and present pt3 of our interview trilogy.
– Rob Arnold
Click the SoundCloud file to listen to the final part of three of our interview with Richie, and/or read the transcript below.
I said we’d talk about him, so let’s get back to ‘Nico’. He’s up with you at the moment doing the altitude camp. He’s a big personality. It’s 30 years since his father won the Tour de France. I really like talking to him about cycling because he’s got a very interesting perspective. He’s ridden with Sky. He’s ridden with Tinkoff (nee Saxo)… just like you. And now he’s with BMC and part of the contributing factor for what hopefully will be ‘Mission Yellow Jersey’. What does Nicolas Roche bring to the table for you?
“Nicolas Roche brings that experience that money can’t buy. He’s kind of like a ‘Bernie’ Eisel or a Luke Rowe, someone that… well, Luke is not the most experienced guy but he’s just got such a fantastic cycling brain. To me, that’s what Nico Roche brings.
“We’re great mates on and off the bike and BMC went out and got him last year from Sky.
“It’s good to have a director I the car on the radio but I think it’s better to have someone like Mick Rogers in the mountains – or a Nico Roche – who is there and can read the situation because, you know, I don’t think I’m bad tactically but when you’ve got the stress of trying to finish it off it clouds your judgement, or your calls, a little bit.
“So Nico Roche will be there in the higher mountains with me and he’ll be calling the shots.
“There’s not many roads in France that he doesn’t know. He’s so experienced. He’s absolutely flying at the moment so I think for the Tour he’s a key man for me. He’s great to have.”
Is he going to look like Richie Porte did to Chris Froome? Is he going to be your last man standing kind of thing?
“I guess there will be some days that he will be but I think Damiano Caruso was that man last year. He was absolutely brilliant when the field was down to 10 guys and the race was really on, Damiano was there.
“Nico has been in that position as well and I think he’s super motivated this year to be up there as well. So I guess it’s a we’ll-take-it-day-by-day but I’d say Nico will be there at crunch time.”
Okay. When I hear ‘we take it day by day’, I think: it’s time to end the interview. [Laughs.] Because it’s not like you to bring up the clichés. We were going to talk for 10 minutes, I think that’s closing in on 20. So thanks a lot for having a chat.
It’s a pleasure to talk. I’ve taken a lot out of that exchange. I wish you all the best in the next little while.
“Thanks. Thanks for the support and I’m looking forward to July with all the Aussies over there for support. It means a lot! I think this year at the Tour Down Under I really saw the state that cycling is in.
“I think maybe Cycling Australia make a bit of a mess of things sometimes with how they govern the sport but the fact is that people are riding bikes and that’s all that really matters to be honest.”
Exactly. The governance is a whole other ball game. If we start on that we’ll be talking another 25 minutes. But it’s good that you bring up the Tour Down Under. It’s remiss of me not to reference your wins. I actually tried to talk to you after [your] win in Romandie but you’ve had a couple of big stage race wins, a couple of big WorldTour titles this year. Just to conclude, does that kind of approach to the season – where the wins are coming – give you a bit of extra buoyancy? Do you feel a bit lighter?
“Yeah, that was always my aim this year.
“Last year it was: let’s kind of build into the Tour de France. Whereas my coach, David Bailey, said this year: ‘Hang on, let’s try and win as many races as you can and take confidence.’
“Other than Paris-Nice – which was an absolutely disaster, but I still managed to win a stage – it’s gone quite well. And I think, at the end of the day, to win Romandie and the Tour Down Under…
“Down Under? You have to tip your hat to the organisers there: it’s probably the best organised race other than the Tour de France and it’s just an absolute pleasure to go to Adelaide and race in January.”
This interview was done on a Friday evening. It was around 23 minutes in total. We presented it divided into three parts so it came in smaller ‘chunks’ of reading (and listening).
Please let me know if you’d like to read it or listen to it in the complete format.
And we hope that you continue to dominate on the roads of bike races in July like you did in January. But we have to wind this one up or otherwise I’ll talk all day. But Richie, thanks very much for having a chat.
“No worries. Thanks for having me.”
– Interview by Rob Arnold