Porte leaves Sky ‘ Ready to go and lead a team’
AUSTRALIAN cycling star Richie Porte has confirmed he will leave Team Sky after the Tour de France, with speculation he will join Cadel Evans’ former squad, BMC Racing.
Porte ( right) said the time had come to ditch the support role he’s held at the powerful British outfit for four years and become a Grand Tour leader at a rival team.
“Obviously, it’s my last Tour de France with Team Sky and I want to finish on a high with my mate Chris Froome,” Porte said after the 28km Stage 9 team time trial from Vannes to Plumelec. The Tasmanian told News Corp Australia as far back as December 2013 he would leave Sky this year.
“I think the next move for me is two more years at Sky but then I really think I need to get out and ride in a team where I’ll be the leader,” Porte said at the time. “For me, the dream is to win a Grand Tour, any Grand Tour.”
The 30- year- old said on Sunday night his impending Sky exit was “the worst- kept secret in the world”.
“I’ve got to take my own opportunities,” Porte said. “I’ve won Paris- Nice and Catalunya this year and had my big opportunity in the Giro this year, which didn’t quite go to plan.
“But I’m ready, I’m in the prime of my career now in the next few years and I need to go and lead a team.”
Porte has proven himself as a chief domestique, helping Brad Wiggins win the Tour in 2012 and piloting Froome to glory in 2013.
An excellent 2015 season, in which he also won the Giro del Trentino, only took a hit when a controversial time penalty and bad crash saw him abandon the Giro d’Italia.
Riders and managers are prohibited from announcing any moves until August 1 under UCI rules. But BMC, with Australians Allan Peiper ( sporting manager) and rising talent Rohan Dennis, have been chasing Porte for years.
Etixx- Quick- Step is also in contention to secure Porte’s signature, while OricaGreenEDGE is targeting a general classification rider.
The US- based BMC has American Tejay van Garderen as its GC contender and Etixx- Quick- Step likewise with Rigoberto Uran but more and more teams are employing two leaders.
Astana boast reigning Tour champ Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru, who finished runner- up in May’s Giro.
There would be teams with more obvious leadership openings but BMC have a strong support squad and Porte could split the calendar with van Garderen.