Richie Porte will forgo the Giro d’Italia to focus on the Tour de France, his Sky team announced Monday. The Tasmanian was set to lead the British team in Italy, but an illness in March was too steep a setback for Porte, who will return to France to support defending champion Chris Froome.
“Richie was always going to ride the Tour de France this year but this now means that he can fully focus on being in the best possible shape without having the added challenge of having to ride the Giro as well,” head of performance support Tim Kerrison said in a press release. “He played an invaluable role in our Tour wins in 2012 and 2013 and we want him to do the same again this year. We’re always reviewing our line-ups and looking how we can best support our riders and give ourselves the best possible chance for success.”
According to the Sydney Morning Herald Porte suffered from a stomach bug, which saw him abandon Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya in late March.
“I’m obviously not 100 percent. After my illness at Tirreno I went home and just haven’t quite been able to get over it,” he said via the team’s website following his Catalunya withdrawal. “Training is one thing, but when you come to the race there’s nowhere to hide. Unfortunately, today I had to stop, but I think long-term I’ll be able to go back, get healthy, recover, and re-start my season.”
That season will now focus around a bid to keep the maillot jaune in the Sky camp.