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Interview: Richie Porte Getting Started
By Chris Graetz
Date: 12/19/2009
Interview: Richie Porte Getting Started

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 professional.

“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 said.

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.

Read our August interview with Richie Porte.

More Interviews:

Zak Dempster
Cameron Meyer
Iván Gutiérrez
Shawn Milne Team Type 1
Lucy Martin
Katie Compton
Mark McCormack
Tiffany Cromwell
Josephine Tomic
Matt Rendell
William Fotheringham
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