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Here is the first of a series of interview relating to Richie Porte’s retirement from the 2018 Tour de France. RIDE Media spoke with Fabio Baldato after stage nine.

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Early in the ninth stage of the 2018 Tour de France, there was a crash. Although the route from Arras to Roubaix included 15 pavésectors that would prompt numerous incidents – many of which caused crashes considerable pain to many riders, it was on a relatively ordinary piece of road that Richie Porte fell.

He was tended to by the race medicos. After the stage, they confirmed: “It’s a trauma to the clavicule”, and that was enough. ‘Porte: Abandon.’

Porte withdrew from the race and was taken to hospital in nearby Cambrai for further examination.

After the stage, RIDE Media spoke with a range of people associated with the team. Here is the first part of a verbatim interview to explain the situation.

Fabio Baldato is one of BMC Racing’s directeurs sportif for the Tour de France. The Italian wasn’t certain about the extent of the injuries when we spoke but I explained that the team’s principal, Jim Ochowicz, had confirmed that the hospital report suggested there were no broken bones. That news came as a surprise to Baldato who immediately responded: “That’s good news.”


For a second year in a row, Richie Porte is out of the Tour de France because of a crash in stage nine. One thing is certain, the injuries are nowhere near as extreme as when he thumped into a stone wall at high speed on the descent of the Mont du Chat.

But the ramifications for the team for the final two weeks remains the same: it’s now time to consider a B-plan and, Baldato said, “We’ll try to have some fun also because otherwise we can all cry to the end”.


* * * * *


Fabio Baldato: directeur sportif


RIDE: Fabio, it’s a miserable day. We can try and suga-rcoat it and say second[in the stage for Greg Van Avermaet is good and the increase in the advantage of the yellow jersey is good, but with Richie out, some dreams are broken.

Fabio Baldato: “Absolutely. Also, because we didn’t fight for anything else – we didn’t try even… our plan was all around Richie from the beginning. Only Greg had the freedom to stay with the Classics riders in stage nine. He was to stick with Sagan and to follow him and all the others were around Richie.

“It was just a crash after seven kilometres… there was a lot of stress from everybody.

“He went down really bad. It looks like the shoulder was dislocated and they put it in.

“It was really painful.

“Let’s wait for the final report from the doctor. But of course, our dream was the yellow jersey. It was also for the stage win [for Van Avermaet] today, but the most of our team’s effort was for the podium for Richie.

“I saw what he was like when he arrived at the Tour. It was possible to win the race.

“We know [stage nine] was the last difficult day to overcome. But we’ll see what we do next.

“We’ll go on stage by stage and we’ll try to have some fun also because otherwise we can all cry to the end.

“We still see a great yellow jersey. Greg is amazing.

“I’m happy for [John] Degenkolb – the win in Roubaix is a great result. Greg also did everything perfectly, even the sprint. It’s just that John was stronger in the last 300-400 metres.”


We saw you climb out of the bus in Chambéry last year with some bad news, a confirmation of Richie’s injuries in stage nine. I spoke with Allan Peiper; he feels hollow and empty. What are your emotions now?

“It’s a bit the same as Allan. But this is different to last year.

“Last year it was a really bad crash. We were really afraid. It was really a kind of panic.

“This year we saw that it was nothing too dramatic, just a really bad crash with his shoulder and ribs. I understand that the shoulder [was dislocated] and they put it in again and that it was really painful.

“The doctor of the ambulance, said that it could be broken – ‘It looks like it’s broken’.”


It was the race’s medical team who made the diagnosis?

“Yeah, that was who was there. There were two ambulances with the doctor. I went to him and said, ‘How does he feel?’

“They said, ‘No, no Fabio, it’s broken.’”


They have confirmed at the hospital that there’s no fracture.

“Oh. That is good news. It’s good news… but I don’t know: I was not on the bike. I didn’t crash. I’m sure that he is in a lot of pain, most of all if the shoulder went out and back in – it’s not something that’s easy to handle.”



– Interview by Rob Arnold