• Richie Porte here at the finish of the 2016 Paris-Nice is ready to test his legs in the Dauphine (AAP)Source: AAP
Richie Porte is primed for the Criterium du Dauphine after a solid stint of training around the comforts of home over isolated altitude camps on volcanos.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
4 Jun 2016 - 8:54 AM  UPDATED 4 Jun 2016 - 8:55 AM

Stacked roster ready to rumble at Critérium du Dauphiné
As the clock ticks down to the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné the main contenders are itching to see how their training has panned out in this week-long test ahead of the Tour de France.

Where defending race champion Chris Froome (Sky) has used social media to document preparations at altitude in Tenerife, Porte has stayed offline, quietly clocking kilometres around his Monaco base.

 

The 31-year-old has recovered from a virus that saw him abandon his last competition, the Tour de Romandie, in April and is in good condition ahead of the eight-day race which doubles as a litmus test for the Tour de France.

Porte is set to race the Tour for the first time this year as an overall contender with new team BMC having previously served as super domestique to the likes of Froome and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), both of whom he’ll face at the Dauphine.

“I can get into a much better routine at home,” he said from Monaco. “With the diet, and all these things, it’s just easier to be in a comfortable environment like home is. We spend that much time away so it’s nice to be here and see the wife a little bit.

“I’m not the biggest fan of altitude,” he added. “I guess you need a block but certainly we’re going to get it in anyway. We went to Etna in April and we’re going above Morzine for training camp straight after the Dauphine as well for two weeks.”

 

Porte has designs on the 4km prologue in Les Gets on Sunday and has not ruled out claiming the first leader’s jersey of the race, the overall ultimately not decided until the final stage.

“You look at the Giro, Paris-Nice, races like that where they’ve had short, sharp stages, they’re probably the hardest ones to defend as a team,” he said. “It’s not a given, not a procession that last stage so we’ll have to see what happens.

“Contador is there, Froomey is there, so it’s going to be quite a good field. It’s going to be nice to go there and gauge the work I’ve been doing since Romandie onwards,” he continued.

“Realistically I want to go there and try and be on the podium.”

Porte has observed and put faith in a slow-burn approach to the season that will soon reach its pinnacle at the Tour de France in July and, he hopes, the Rio Olympic Games road race in August.

“It’s a strategy I haven’t been allowed to use before,” he said.

“I know I’m in much better condition and it just seems like the season is absolutely flying compared to last year. If I was sitting here talking to you last year I’d have had a terrible Giro but then I’d won Paris-Nice, Catalunya and Trentino.

“I haven’t had a bad start to the season, other than being sick in Romandie,” he continued. “I’m really happy with how it went, with what training I’d done, third in Paris-Nice and fourth in Catalunya, they were the hard races.”

The Australian missed an Olympic recon trip with compatriot Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and Cycling Australia elite men’s road director Brad McGee in May due to illness but has maintained an open dialogue with selectors.

“I had a good sit down with Brad McGee a couple of weeks back in Monaco and we’re on the same page. Of course I’d love to go to the Olympics. I didn’t get to go in 2012 but, you know, I think I’m ready for Rio,” he said.

“Other than Dauphine, there is not really much more you can do to prove it but having talked to Froomey, Gerro, guys that have seen the course, it sounds like it’s harder than first anticipated, which for me is good.”

2016 Criterium du Dauphine: teams and hopes unveiled

All stages of the Criterium du Dauphine are LIVE online and on SBS2. Click here for broadcast times.