Porte: Staying with Sky wasn't rocket science

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Richie Porte has enjoyed a purple patch since linking up with Team Sky at the beginning of 2012. He's hoping that will continue with the team over the next two years. (Getty Images)
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It may not have been the easiest decision in the world, but staying with Team Sky certainly wasn't something that Richie Porte had to think too long about, when the team approached him to negotiate a new contract earlier this year.

It wasn't rocket science I'm happy to re-sign here. It's the best setup team at the moment. I don't just say that because I've re-signed. It just is.

Porte signed a new deal with Team Sky a few days ago keeping the Australian with the British team until the end of 2015. The news ended speculation over Porte's future, which had built after his stellar start to the year, and the surplus of leadership at Team Sky.

With Wiggins and Froome already fighting for the limelight and the top-dog status it appeared a legitimate consideration that perhaps the world's number one team would struggle to keep Porte as well on-side.

But while there were other offers out there, and the ambition of leadership was something that Porte does dream of, leaving Sky was never in question.

"To be honest, anyone that knows anything about cycling knows that for a rider like myself Sky is the best team to be in," Porte told Cycling Central from Tenerife as he suited up for a long six hours in the saddle where Team Sky has six riders readying for the Tour de France.

Not only does the team have the know-how, but it's built a winning formula and has the depth in talent to execute with alarming success. Case in point is Porte's very presence in Tenerife more than six weeks out from the Tour start on June 29.

It's that meticulousness that Porte values far more than a nominal leadership role in another team. Because even if he was leader at say Orica-GreenEDGE, would he be winning races as he is currently?

"The grass isn't always greener is it? In any other team I doubt I would have been able to win at Paris-Nice for example. Because we wouldn't have been able to control the race the way we were able to - and I wouldn't have had the ride I would've had," said Porte.

"Sky can send two teams to two concurrent races, and still be competitive in both. It wasn't rocket science, I'm really happy to re-sign here. It's the best setup team at the moment. I don't just say that because I've re-signed. It just is."

For some, including the most ardent of Australian fans, Porte's decision to stay with Team Sky cuts deep, particulalry those who had hoped he might make a move to Orica-GreenEDGE and bolsters its long-term GC hopes. Porte admitted that Orica-GreenEDGE may well be a destination for him down the road, but for now he had to look out for himself professionally and Sky ticked that box.

"It's not about being unpatriotic or not," said Porte. "You know there's almost as many Australians at Sky anyway, but that's beside the point. This is a professional sport, I would never go to a team just because it's Aussie or whatever.

"At the moment it's not a team where GC is a focus. If I was to go there you'd have to bring a few guys a long with you. At this point in my career, I don't need stress thinking about unknowns, I just want to put my head down and learn the trade and here I can learn it off the best."

Porte did add that he would consider a move to the team if it did reshape to more of a GC focus in the future.

"(OGE) is a young team, and they're still learning the ropes. In the future, it's not rocket science that that's where I'd love to end up. But for now you just don't leave a team like Sky, when it's performing like it is."

And for those that question whether Porte has given up his own personal ambitions and will again ride in the second fiddle to Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, guess again, there's plenty of room for the Australian to forge his narrative next year culminating in outright leadership at the Giro d'Italia.

"I'd like to go the Giro next year and have a good crack at that. If I can do a similar program next year, with my own team around me, that'd be great. If I can do any Grand Tour as a leader, that'd be a dream, and I think that'll happen for me next year."

Porte will again ride the Criterium du Dauphine as he preps for the Tour de France. He became the first Australian to win Paris-Nice in March, and ran second overall at the Criterium International later the same month.

Porte also won the maglia bianca at the 2010 Giro d'Italia in his neo-pro year, something that flagged his Grand Tour potential early on and has gone from strength-to-strength since.

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