Porte looking forward to support role in Tour

26 June 2021 00:39:44 GMTPlus10

Australian veteran Richie Porte says he could not be happier taking a back seat and helping teammate Geraint Thomas at the Tour de France.

Thomas is 4500/1 to win Le Tour for a second time with Porte at 4500/1 yet the Aussie insists that he and his Ineos Grenadiers' colleagues will be working for the Welshman.

Porte, 36, will head for the Grand Depart in Brest in arguably the best form of his life having recently claimed victory at the Criterium du Dauphine.

It was the sixth time he had won a major stage race as he continued his good form from 2020, where among his best results was a third-placed finish behind Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar in Le Tour in September.

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But the Tasmanian acknowledges that this year his focus will be on helping Thomas to win a second yellow jersey to add to the one he claimed in 2018.

Thomas skipped the race last autumn, preferring to focus instead on the Giro d'Italia, although that ended early after he sustained a fractured hip in a crash on stage three.

But the 34-year-old, like Porte, enters this year's Tour in great nick after claiming victory at the Tour de Romandie and picking up third-placed finishes in the Volta a Catalunya and the Criterium.

Porte, who plans to retire next year, says it's the pressure of being team leader which makes him pleased to be grafting for someone else.

"I don't want that pressure any more," he told The Age. "I'll be a better teammate, a better person if I don't have all that stress and pressure on me.

"I'm 100 per cent committed to helping [Thomas] win in July, and I think he can. That's the difference, having the belief in your leader that they can win it."

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