Age: 32 (30/01/85)
Pro Since: 2010
Team: BMC Racing
Richard “Richie” Porte was born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1985. Growing up he excelled as a triathlete before switching his attention to cycling at the age of 21. Following two successful seasons racing at amateur level in Europe, Richie signed as a professional with Team Saxo-Bank in 2010.
He made an incredible start to his pro career notching up his first win in the Time Trial stage at the Tour of Romandie in April 2010. This amongst other strong performances gained him selection for the 2010 Giro d’Italia. In what was his first Grand Tour start, Richie won the Best Young Rider accolade and secured 7th position in the overall classification. Remarkably he led the general classification from stages 11-13, experiencing 3 days in the prestigious “Maglia Rosa” race leaders jersey.
In October 2010, Richie narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the Elite Men’s Time Trial at the UCI Road World Championships, held in the Australian city of Geelong. His performance yet another indication that he was a rider with a bright future in the sport. Although 2011 brought less individual success for Richie, he still featured prominently in a number of stages in the Giro, Paris-Nice and Tour of Romandie races. He also won stage 5 at the Tour of Denmark.
In 2012, Richie signed for Team Sky and was a key member of the team that assisted Sir Bradley Wiggins in his victory at the Tour de France. In 2013, Richie enjoyed the best season of his career to date. He received many plaudits for the central support role he played in teammate Chris Froome's victory at the Tour de France. However his season highlight came in early Spring when Richie was given the opportunity to lead the team at Paris-Nice stage race. He delivered in fine style winning the prestigious 8 day event. He followed this up with two more second place finishes at the Tour of Basque and the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he rode again as a domestique and helped Froome to another overall victory.
Richie's main focus at the beginning of the 2014 season was to lead Team Sky at the Giro d'Italia. His early preparation had gone smoothly with a stage victory at the Tour Down Under followed by a strong showing at the Vuelta a Andalucia. Unfortunately disaster struck in March when he contracted a chest infection which he struggled to shake off in the build up to the Giro and he was forced to miss the race. Richie returned to the saddle in the build up to the Tour de France and proved his fitness to earn selection for Team Sky's tour squad. Although his was selected for "Super Domestique" duty, Richie became the team's protected rider in the first week when Chris Froome was forced to retire due to injury. However it wasn't long before Richie's early season illness resurfaced and he paid the price on the tougher mountainous stages during the third week of racing. After the Tour it was decided that Richie would sit out the rest of the year and instead focus on getting himself back to full health for the 2015 season.
Richie made a scintillating start to his 2015 season with a victory in the National TT and a runner-up spot at the Tour Down Under. He continued his fine form into Spring with overall victories at Paris-Nice and Giro del Trentino respectively, before leading Team Sky at the Giro d'Italia. However he was forced to retire from the race in the latter stages after a couple of unfortunate crashes. Thankfully Richie had recovered by July and he played another key role in Chris Froome's second Tour de France success. Shortly after the race, it was announced that Richie would be joining BMC Racing in 2016.
Richie made a fast start for BMC with a runner-up spot in the Overall GC at the Tour Down Under, which included another stage win up the famous Willunga Hill. In March, he continued his strong form with a podium finish at Paris-Nice. Back to back fourth place finishes at the Tour of Catalunya and Dauphine had Richie in good shape to lead BMC at the Tour de France in July. However he was to suffer a couple of unfortunate breaks at the Tour, firstly a poorly-timed puncture on stage 2 and then a crash with a motorbike on Mont Ventoux. Showing great tenacity, Richie still secured 5th position in the Overall GC, his best ever finish at the Tour.
In August, Richie represented Australia at the Olympic Games in Rio where he was still in contention to medal in the road race before breaking his scapula in a crash on a descent with 35km to go. Unfortunately this injury brought an early end to his season but Richie will return to action in 2017 and his main goal will be another strong showing at the Tour de France.