Interview: Richie Porte Getting Started
Checking in with Australian Richie Porte after his camp with Bjarne Riis' power house squad team Saxo Bank started on the 'island of luck' - Fuerteventura.
Good things do come from hard work. Just ask Australian Richie Porte who in is his first twelve months with Italian amateur Team Monsummanese Bedogni Grassi earned three stage wins, two race victories culminating in a stage win in the Baby Giro. His 25th birthday, which he celebrates on January 30th will be his first as a pro. His hard work, talent and dedication landed him a two year pro contract with none other than Saxo Bank.
“I am excited to be heading into my first year as pro, especially with Saxo
Bank.” Porte described. “If I could have chosen the team to turn pro with this
would have been my first choice. It’s a surreal feeling and justifies the
sacrifices of moving to Europe. Its an incredible opportunity,” he added.
“It’s a surreal feeling for me to be riding pro. It has all happened so
quickly for me. The step up bring a lot more responsibilities and one of those
is being on athlete whereabouts, but it’s the same for everybody and it seems to
be a system which is helping to clean up cycling.” Richie said when asked about
what his first few months of being professional was like.
He has just completed Saxo Bank’s training camp at Fuerteventura in the
Canary Islands and no doubt this will be the first of many. Perhaps auspicious
start, the literal translation of the islands name 'strong fortune' or luck; and
blessed with warm temps and over 300 sunny days a year.
“Training camp was a good two weeks. It was a very relaxed atmosphere which
enabled everybody to meet and get to know each other instead of just turning up
to the first race of the season not knowing anybody.” Porte said. “Having all
the staff there was good and it’s a very happy environment within Saxo Bank,” he
went onto say.
The team stayed at Playitas which is a sports themed hotel.
“It’s a fantastic climate and the hotel caters for so many sports. We kept
pretty active the whole time.” Porte said.
There were plenty of activities that the team participated in such as
kayaking, orienteering, golf and diving which had an emphasis on team work.
“My favourite activity was on the jet ski,” Porte said. “I also saw a flying
fish for the first time,” he added.
With the training camp over, the neo-pro is looking forward to 2010.
“My goal is to make the step up and to learn how to be a better bike rider,”
Porte explained when asked of his goals for the coming season. “I’m working with
some of the best people in the cycling world so hopefully I can take much
experience as possible from them.”
Last year Richie finished third in the Australian National Time Trial
Championships behind winner Michael Rogers and runner up Cameron Meyer. He won’t
be racing the National’s in 2010, however, he is looking to his first race as
“My first race is the Trofeo Mallorca in Spain at the beginning of February.
It’s a nervous time I guess for any Neo pro but there are so many good people to
work within this team that I know I will be fully prepared to make the step up
into Professional racing.” Richie said.
When asked about the Aussies on the team, such as Stuart O’Grady and Baden
Cooke, Richie added. “Having the fellow Aussies in the team certainly helps. The
thing with Australian’s and certainly the ones in Saxo Bank is they are so well
respected. It’s exciting times for Australian cycling.”
As a neo-pro you look forward to any race you participate in but could a
Grand Tour be on the cards for Richie in 2010? He is a tour rider having won
stages in a few smaller tours he’s participated in so it’s a strong possibility.
“I would love to ride a Grand Tour in my first year as professional,” Richie
When asked of which one he would like to ride he went onto say; “The Giro
d’Italia would be the one I would most like to ride having lived and raced in
Italy most of my Amateur career.”
Certainly 2010 looks to be a very strong year for all young Australian
cyclists, but for Richie in particular, this has been a very sweet ride and one
that will hopefully continue for many years to come. We wish him all the best
and look forward to catching up with him next year to see how he’s traveling.
August interview with Richie Porte.
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