• Richie Porte in action during the 12th stage of the 2015 edition of the Tour de France (AAP)Source: AAP
After supporting teammates at the Tour de France for several years, now Australian cyclist Richie Porte has personal ambitions.
By
AAP

Source:
AAP
4 Nov 2015 - 8:24 AM  UPDATED 4 Nov 2015 - 9:41 AM

Australian cycling star Richie Porte hopes a year-long injury problem is behind him as he finally aims for his own Tour de France glory.

The 30-year-old Tasmanian is going through multiple life changes ahead of next July's Tour.

Porte and Gemma Bartlett were married last weekend, four years after they met at Team Sky.

He has left Sky, after playing crucial support roles for Tour champions Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, in a high-profile transfer to BMC.

The team where Cadel Evans became the first Australian to win the Tour will now feature Porte and American Tejay van Garderen as joint leaders.

It would be the first time Porte rode at the Tour with personal ambitions, rather than as a domestique.

As Porte enters this crucial new phase in his career, he has also undergone treatment to cure the injury that has dogged him since January.

Porte came down with a bout of piriformis syndrome during a strong performance at Adelaide's Tour Down Under, where he finished second overall.

He managed a string of big wins through the first half of the season, but a succession of mishaps ruined his dream of a big result at the May Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy).

Porte then helped Froome win the Tour de France for the second time.

But the Australian has not finished a race since and, last month, Porte had treatment for the syndrome, where the piriformis muscle in the buttock becomes inflamed.

"I'm 30 and I felt like a 40-year-old over the last nine months," Porte told AAP.

"It's one of those things that's been in the back of my mind all year.

"It's so bloody painful - it was a bit worrying.

"With the right care, it should be fine and I'm looking forward to having a season with no injuries."

Sky helped organise the treatment for the injury and Porte said he was leaving the team on good terms.

Now Porte wants to show what he can achieve for himself at the Tour after strong support roles in the past few years for Alberto Contador, Wiggins and Froome.

"It's uncharted territory for me as a professional bike rider - I've always been second fiddle," he said.

"But I've ridden with some great guys and I'm ready to take my opportunity."

And Porte has no doubt he and van Garderen can co-exist as BMC's leaders at the Tour, noting they would be far from the first team with two protected riders.

"In this game, you always have a few blow-ups here and there with riders on the road and he's one who I've never had an issue with," Porte said.

"I don't see it being an issue that we both have our biggest goal in the Tour de France."