Having put a season dogged by poor health behind him, Richie Porte wants to win the Australian road cycling title.
By
AAP

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Porte is also determined to feature at the Giro d'Italia in May, despite a sub-par season cruelled by poor health.

With 2014 behind him, the 29-year-old Tasmanian is aiming for a fast start to 2015 by winning the 11 January Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships title at Buninyong, near Ballarat.

His main targets next year will be to lead the powerful Sky team at the Giro and then support Chris Froome in July at the Tour de France.

"I'd love to compete in the Giro as the new Australian champion," said Porte. "My health is back where it needs to be and I want to lead in a grand tour and the Giro is the target for me.

"Nothing is a given yet, but it looks like that will be my race. Chris has also had an up and down season and it's his goal to go back and win the Tour de France.

"I'd love to be there supporting him, but I'm also going to take my opportunities next season."
Porte's 2014 campaign started brilliantly when he finished third behind Simon Gerrans and Cadel Evans in a pulsating road race at the Buninyong nationals.

He then won the prestigious Willunga stage on the way to fourth overall at the Santos Tour Down Under.

After a promising second overall in February at the Ruta del Sol stage race, Porte had to pull out midway through Tirreno-Adriatico because of illness.

He would eventually abandon his plans to ride at the Giro.

Porte then took over leadership of the Sky team when Froome had to pull out of the Tour de France.

The Australian at one point was third overall in the race, but again ill health dogged him and he finished 23rd.

Porte, who also finished third behind Gerrans at the 2012 nationals, will not have to worry about the Orica-GreenEDGE rider on January 11.

Gerrans broke his collarbone in a pre-Christmas training crash, ruling him out of title defences at the road nationals and the Tour Down Under.

His absence clearly opens the race up for Porte and Evans, who will retire in early February.

"I love the Buninyong course and I don't think that GreenEDGE has got quite the numbers they've had in other years," said Porte.

"It would be very nice to have a podium like we had this year and anybody that wins on that circuit is a worthy winner.

"So it's a big goal to go there and try and take that jersey."