Porte puts grand plans on hold despite Paris-Nice stage win
Sky's the limit: Richie Porte celebrates his win. Photo: AFP
After Richie Porte secured the most significant victory of his career in France on Sunday, the question on many observers' lips was when would the Australian get to lead a team in a grand tour?
Porte's overall victory in the Paris-Nice stage race was impressive. The Tasmanian took the race lead last Friday with a brilliant attack to win stage five. Then, after his team worked superbly to help him defend it, he won the seventh and final stage, a 9.6km mountain time trial from Nice to the summit of the Col d'Eze. In misty conditions, Porte (Sky) won the race against the clock in 19 minutes 16 seconds - four seconds off the record time clocked by his teammate and reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins.
Porte won the stage beating American Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) by 23 sec and Columbian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by 27 sec to extend his overall lead on Talansky from 32 sec to 55 sec. Frenchman Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2r-La Mondiale) was third overall at 1min 21 secs.
Afterwards Porte reaffirmed that his aim in the Tour de France this year was to help Wiggins and fellow Briton Chris Froome, last year's runner-up.
''I'm still doing my apprenticeship, and I'm still learning off Bradley [Wiggins] and Chris [Froome],'' Porte said after his victory. ''I don't expect to go to the Tour and ride for general classification. I'm in a good place at the moment and I don't want to change anything.
''I'm going to take it as it comes. Whatever happens we're going to have a hell of a team for the Tour de France. I will have my chances in other races.''However, if Porte develops his own overall grand tour ambitions sooner than planned, it could become a crowded house at Sky.
Wherever his future takes him, it looks promising.
Twitter - @rupertguinness