Peiper on Porte: “It’s definitely been a testing day”
Before the Tour of 2018, Allan Peiper said that these are the “three weeks I’ve been waiting my whole life for”. That’s when he believed Richie Porte could win the Tour. An incident in stage nine ended that dream…
A considerable time had passed before the BMC Racing team car rolled in and parked next to the team bus. Emerging from the passenger seat was an Australian who had high hopes for what might happen in the 2018 Tour de France. Allan Peiper was firmly of the belief that one of his compatriots would win the title this year.
Although BMC Racing won the team time trial on the opening Monday, and the yellow jersey has been on the shoulders of Greg Van Avermaet since, the main ambition of the American-registered team was to try and deliver Richie Porte to Paris as the winner.
That’s not going to happen now. A crash before the cobbled sectors of the ninth stage forced the retirement of Richie Porte. As is often the case in cycling, it was suspected that he may have a fractured collarbone. At the scene of the accident, race doctors suggested that this was the case. It is also understood that the 33-year-old dislocated his shoulder and that it was quickly “put back in” by the race’s medical staff.
Ultimately, however, the decision was made to pull Porte out of the race and send him to hospital for further examinations. Again, the Tasmanian is denoted with “DNF”; again it’s because of a crash in stage nine…
Although the injuries are far from as serious as they were after the ninth stage of the 2017 Tour de France, the dream of Porte, Peiper and others involved is over.
Moments after Van Avermaet finished second in the stage, behind John Degenkolb of the Trek-Segafredo team, BMC Racing’s principal, Jim Ochowicz, said that he believed Porte would “be back on the bike again in a couple of days”.
We wait to see if that prediction rings true. Even if it is, there’s no chance for Porte to match Cadel Evans’ efforts from 2011 and win the Tour.
Hear Peiper’s initial comments after stage nine, click the SoundCloud file (above).
“You try and make it relative, but it’s difficult why things happen,” said Peiper after exiting the team car.
He seemed stunned and although he is often good for a quote, it was difficult for him to find the words to explain his emotions in Roubaix.
Van Avermaet has increased his advantage as leader of the Tour but the team remains stunned. The intended campaign for July is over and it’s back to the drawing board to work out what they’re going to do in stages 10 through to 21 over the coming fortnight.
The headline of BMC Racing’s (original*) official release after the stage states: “Mixed fortunes…” indeed this is the case. But there is little consolation for Peiper and his cohort even if there is optimism from Ochowicz and others about the rest of the race and, for that matter, the rest of what may be the team’s farewell season.
Asked if he felt a little hollow because of what happened, Peiper stated the obvious: “Very much so.”
There’ll be more racing on Tuesday following a day of rest after the transfer to Annecy on Sunday evening. But the mood of Porte’s team is low.
Peiper summed up his feelings at the end of our brief chat: “Obviously it’s a bit of numbness at the start. And then disbelief. And then you go through a whole range of emotions. It’s definitely been a testing day, that’s for sure.”
– By Rob Arnold
*Update: fracture later confirmed by BMC Racing
Several hours after the conclusion of the ninth stage, BMC Racing issued a second press release confirming that Porte’s collarbone had indeed sustained a fracture in the fall. Below is the complete statement.
* * * * *
Richie Porte was forced to abandon the Tour de France after a devastating crash early into stage 9 which left him with a fractured right clavicle, BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa confirmed.
“Richie has been discharged by the hospital and the diagnosis is that he has a non-displaced right clavicle fracture. He will need to rest for a week before he considers starting to ride on the home trainer. From what we know at this point, it looks like a straightforward injury and one that is quite common in cycling. We are expecting him to be back on the bike training in probably three to four weeks and potentially racing in six to eight weeks. We will continue to monitor Richie’s recovery and adjust the plan accordingly,” Dr. Testa explained.
Porte is understandably disappointed about being forced to abandon the Tour de France.
“Obviously I’m devastated. For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder. I want to say a big thank you to my teammates for their incredible work over the first nine days. We had a great first week and I’m so disappointed that I won’t be continuing to Paris. I hope to recover as fast as possible and get back to racing,” Porte said.