Porte hot tip to win tour’s yellow jersey

ONE of pro cycling’s most informed columnists has tipped Hadspen’s Richie Porte as a potential winner of this year’s Tour de France.

Scotsman Robert Millar, who won stages in all three Grand Tours during his 15-year career plus the mountain classifications at the Tour de France and Giro D’Italia, is one of Porte’s fellow bloggers on the cyclingnews website.

In a piece headlined: “The honeymoon is over for Sky and Wiggins”, the 54-year-old questioned the dynamics within the team for which Britons Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome finished first and second in last year’s tour.

With Wiggins having pulled out of this year’s race, Froome is expected to be the team leader with Porte serving as his main support rider.

However, Millar believes Porte’s pedigree as a time trialist, which includes two top-six finishes at world championships, plus his climbing ability and win in this year’s Paris-Nice, could make him a dark horse for the overall title.

Millar wrote that Froome’s main general classification rival should be Porte’s former Saxobank teammate Alberto Contador, but suggested the scenario is not entirely black and white.

“Tactics may well be deployed in the race for yellow,” he said.

“The thinking goes that Froome and Contador will be watching each other that closely that Richie Porte could sneak off up the road and gain enough advantage to withstand any attacks from either of the two named leaders.”

Such a scenario enabled Porte to lead the 2010 Giro for three days and Millar is not the first to suggest it.

Speaking to The Examiner this week, fellow Tasmanian pro-tour rider Cameron Wurf said: “I am very confident that it’s going to be a huge performance by Richie in July.

“He is capable of being on the podium, that’s certain, which spot on the podium will be dictated by the role he is instructed to perform by his team but for sure he will be spending the three weeks at the very pointy end of general classification.”

The tour begins on June 29.

Richie Porte has been tipped as a top contender in this year’s Tour de France. Picture: GETTY IMAGES.

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