• Richie Porte is believed to be heading to BMC (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Chris Froome may be on his way to another Tour de France victory, but one thing is for sure: without his Team Sky team-mates, he would likely be nowhere near the top of the podium.
26 Jul 2015 - 7:32 AM  UPDATED 26 Jul 2015 - 10:53 AM

Chief among them throughout this Tour have been Geraint Thomas and Australia’s Richie Porte, who leaves the team now in search of what he hopes will be his own tilt at Froome’s title this time next year.

Porte announced after Stage 9 that this would be his last Tour with the British team.

“I’ve got to take my own opportunities,” he said at the time. “I’m in the prime of my career now, these next few years, and I need to go and lead a team.”

Porte report
Porte opens up about Sky departure
Richie Porte has opened up about his decision to leave Team Sky for greener pastures elsewhere, but maintains he's still Chris Froome's number one guy for the rest of this Tour de France.
Australia's Porte confirms he is leaving Team Sky
Australia's Richie Porte has revealed he is riding his last Tour de France in the colours of Team Sky.

After fending off the relentless attacks of Movistar and its leader, Nairo Quintana, up Alpe d’Huez on Stage 20, Porte could not have been happier with the terms on which he’ll exit the unit.

“I'm proud to have been the last man to fight by his side,” said the 30-year-old from Tasmania, who is known to be great friends with Froome.

“It was unbelievably hard (today). Chris was not at his best but it's nice to see Thibaut (Pinot) win. It's a great day for French cycling as well.

“The last three weeks were very hard. We had to defend the jersey for 18 days. Movistar tried everything today but to finish this way is just fantastic. Chris is a good friend for me, I was fighting so hard.”

Porte also told Cyclingnews he’d been on antibiotics for the past 10 days, which had hampered his ability to chip in fully through the Alpine stages of the Tour.

“Yesterday, Chris Froome came to my room and said, ‘Just give me all you’ve got tomorrow’,” Porte said.

“He’s such a great mate and I’m just happy to be able to finish it off on a high level.

“It’s nice to leave this team on a high. I’ve made some life-long friends here and it’s just such a great way to finish it off.”

BMC is believed to be the team to have secured Porte’s signature for the next chapter of his career. Having lost Tejay van Garderen on Stage 17 with respiratory problems, there is no doubt a rider of Porte’s ability will make it a significantly stronger unit.

Tejay quits
Ailing van Garderen abandons Tour
BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen has abandoned the Tour de France due to illness.

Having won the 2011 Tour with Cadel Evans, Porte certainly appears to have the potential to be the team’s second Australian Tour winner, if he can maintain the form he has shown under Froome’s leadership.

For Thomas, it all came crashing down on Stage 19, when he admitted his tank was empty having been Froome’s chief ally and defender up to that point. But with Wout Poels ready to take up the mantle, the team showed its strength and ability to knock off all rivals over the duration of this grandest of tours.

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford heaped praise on Froome and the entire team, but admitted that his riders had been worked hard on the final day in the Alps, and not just by their fellow riders.

"It was a bit close in the end. After everything he has endured and put up with in the last few weeks Chris has shown real mettle and what it's all about. I don't think many people get to see what we see every day - and he's shown it in this race. He's a deserved winner and a credit to Britain," he told ITV.

"I think we knew what was coming. We had a bit of a bad day yesterday as a team. Wout saved the day really yesterday and he deserves a lot of credit for that. But today the lads were really geed up for it and they weren't going to make a mistake.

“They weren't going to throw that away and I thought they rode superbly. Richie Porte, whose been really ill for the last few days - he bounced back there today, put in a fantastic shift. All the lads they've been brilliant for three weeks. It's nice to win it.

"What I've known about Chris is that he is the most unbelievable competitor. He's the most polite, nice guy off the bike, but on the bike he is such a resilient character. I don't think I've ever met anyone like him. He's perfect for the job, but he deserves more credit than he gets. He's a true champion."

On top of the racing, Sky has had to endure the ire of a minority of hateful spectators, who have been unhappy at the way the team has dominated proceedings through France.

Froome has been spat on, most recently during the closing kilometres of Stage 20, and also had urine thrown at him, while Porte was reportedly punched in the ribs during another stage.

Stage 20 report
Froome survives Quintana assault as Pinot masters L'Alpe
Chris Froome held off a determined Nairo Quintana on the Col de la Croix de Fer and Alpe d'Huez to all but wrap up his second Tour de France title as Thibaut Pinot won the stage.

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