Porte rapt to have Gerrans as Tour ally

Richie Porte hopes Simon Gerrans' no-nonense attitude can make a big difference in his Tour de France quest.

Simon Gerrans is given a warm endorsement from best friend Richie Porte ahead of the Tour Down Under

Simon Gerrans is given a warm endorsement from best friend Richie Porte ahead of the Tour Down Under

The two Australian cycling stars and long-time friends are teammates for the first time this season at BMC.

Porte is regaining form after the horror crash that ruined his Tour de France hopes last July, while Gerrans is now one of his key lieutenants after six years in a starring role at Australian team Mitchelton-Scott.

They will be two key riders at next week's 20th Tour Down under in Adelaide - Porte as the defending champion and Gerrans as the only rider to win the race four times.

Porte personally contacted Gerrans late last year when the 37-year-old was on the verge of retirement.

"Arguably other than Cadel, he's the best rider Australia has produced," Porte said.

"To have him there, there's no bull crap with Simon.

"He'll say it how it is and that's exactly what we need - not just for this race, but also come July at the Tour.

"Money can't buy that experience."

Porte has already showed this month that he has recovered from the fractured pelvis and other injuries he suffered in his Tour de France crash.

He won the bronze medal in the national championships time trial and was 14th in the road race, attacking twice on the last lap.

Besides defending the Tour title, Porte also covets his succession of wins at the key Willunga summit stage.

"It's easily the best race in Australia," Porte said of the Tour Down Under.

"To see your name there as you walk into the Hilton (as a former winner) ... for anyone, it's quite an achievement.

"I'm not sure if (my form) is as good as last year, but we'll see."

The Tour week opens on Sunday night with the People's Choice Classic, a street race in Adelaide.

The six-stage Tour starts on Tuesday.

The strong field includes three-time defending world champion Peter Sagan.

Two-time Tour winner Andre Greipel is back after a three-year absence, joining a impressive sprint group featuring Australian star Caleb Ewan, Sagan and Italian Elia Viviani.

Greipel was asked for his impressions of Ewan, who is much shorter than the German and has an ultra-low sprinting style.

"My impression is I have no slipstream behind him - that makes it difficult," Greipel joked.

Back To Top
feedback