As the 2015 season hits its halfway point, this week I’m taking a look at the current top five in the WorldTour rankings after 13 of the 27 races.
Today it’s the turn of Sky’s Richie Porte.
WorldTour races: 3.
Points: 303 (303 in stage races, 0 in one-day races).
- Tour Down Under: 2nd overall, one stage win (86 pts).
- Paris-Nice: 1st overall, two stage wins (112 pts).
- Volta a Catalunya: 1st overall, one 2nd place, one 4th (105 pts).
Of the top 16 riders in the latest ranking, Porte is the only one to have competed in fewer than four WorldTour events but he has made each of his three participations count.
After starting 2015 with victory in the Australian national time trial title in early January, the Tasmanian opened his campaign by finishing second overall to Rohan Dennis at the Tour Down Under. He also won the traditional queen stage at the summit of Old Willunga Hill for the second year in succession.
After finishing fourth (and winning another stage) at the Volta ao Algarve, his next WorldTour race was Paris-Nice, where he claimed the overall for the second time in three years with two stage wins, including the concluding time trial up the Col d’Eze.
Two weeks later at the Volta a Catalunya, Porte again graced the top step of the podium. He didn’t win a stage but he successfully fended off everything a high quality field including triple stage-winner Alejandro Valverde could throw at him.
Porte is very much a stage racer rather than a classics rider, so he skipped Ardennes Week and instead focussed on his Giro d’Italia preparations by competing in the mountain-heavy Giro del Trentino. He won the first mountains stage and was third in the other, propelling him to his third GC title of the season.
While questions remain over his ability to maintain his consistency in the grand tours, his preparations for the Giro could not have gone any better. If he’s going to make an impact in the big three-week races, it should be this year as he will be given a leadership role at the Giro before serving as Chris Froome’s first lieutenant at the Tour de France.
Tomorrow: Alexander Kristoff.