Cycling superstar Richie Porte pulled off another devastating near-win at the 2018 Tour Down Under, where he wowed the hometown crowd with another stunning second place at one of the world’s premier stage races.
“Almost won that baby!” Porte said as he gleefully smacked his palm after the race. Porte executed an impressive victory on the queen stage, mastering the dreaded Willunga Hill climb, then watched as Daryl Impey secured the overall on the following day. “Can’t win ’em all,” Porte said with typical Australian good cheer as he congratulated the victor.
Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Richie after his fantastic second place finish at the TdU to talk about his impressive career and his plans for 2018.
CitSB: Pretty awesome second place today, here on your home Australian turf.
RP: Yeah, it feels pretty good, almost as good as when I got second behind Hernao at the Tour of the Basque Country in 2013. That was an amazing day.
CitSB: Brings back memories?
RP: Oh, yeah, mate. I’d just taken the fifth stage, a real beast, from Eibar to Beasain and was six seconds down on Hernao, my teammate.
CitSB: Then what happened?
RP: Oh, I crushed it on the last day and took second overall. It was incredible. An incredible feeling.
CitSB: You were so aggressive on Willunga two days ago, I think the pundits had you down for the overall.
RP (laughs): What do they know? Y’know, 2013 was a great year for me. Second overall at the Critérium International, second overall at the Dauphiné, and second at the Basque Country. Seems like only yesterday!
CitSB: There are a lot of people on the inside of the sport who have you picked as as once-in-a-generation talent.
RP: I don’t know about that, but I’ve always said that anything worth doing is worth almost winning. I’d say 2013 was my breakout year for nearly getting the overall, but I had that second placing in 2014 at the Vuelta a Andalucia, kind of confirmed the previous year, you know?
CitSB: Yes, it really did.
RP: And then in 2015 I was the runner-up at the Tour Down Under; my first time to achieve a near win at our biggest domestic race. The fans were incredible!
CitSB: Yes, I remember. The hometown crowd was thrilled to see you come so close to winning!
RP: Right? Then the following year, in 2016, well it was kind of like a dream, y’know? I almost won the Tour Down Under again, twice in a row! Then I came within a few seconds of first place in the Aussie National Time Trial Championships. It was a giddy year!
CitSB: Almost winning year in and year out is tough to do. And then the way you stormed to second in 2017 at the Critérium du Dauphiné, again.
RP: The toughest, really.
CitSB: Let’s talk about the Tour.
RP: ‘Ave a go, mate.
CitSB: You’ve yet to stand on the second place on the Tour podium yet.
RP: Not for want o’ trying, mate. Not for want o’ trying.
CitSB: Your fans had you pegged for second in 2017 after finishing fifth in 2016. What happened?
RP: I think it’s clear that I could have nearly won the Tour in 2015 if I hadn’t been working for Froomey. Then in 2016 when I was the team leader I think it was pretty clear that I could have almost won if I’d had more support from my teammates, they were doin’ a bit too much ass scratchin’ when they should have been punching the clock, y’know? And it was pretty much guaranteed that I’d nearly have been the winner last if I hadn’t crashed out. That course was a bit of a joke.
CitSB: It was?
CitSB: Any predictions for 2018?
RP: I’m targeting the Giro; I think a next-to-the-top-step is very realistic given where my training is right now, then carry the form over to the Tour.
CitSB: And finally nail down that coveted placing that no one ever remembers?
RP (giant smile): That’s the plan, mate.
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About SouthBayCycling.com: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.