• Richie Porte feels he can have the best season of his career after results at the Tour Down Under. (AAP)Source: AAP
Richie Porte will make wholesale changes to his race schedule in the pursuit of a maiden Tour de France title this year.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
22 Jan 2018 - 7:20 AM 

Porte, 32, typically uses Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine as litmus tests for the marquee event but is set to start Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Suisse this season instead.

“I wanted to go to Tirreno just for a bit of a change. I love Paris-Nice, it’s been good to me over the years, but I think it’s nice to change things up,” he said.

“It’s quite exciting. I’ve never done Tour de Suisse. I’ve done Tirreno once before but didn’t finish it because of illness so I’m looking forward to getting back to Europe and really getting the season started.

“I’m super motivated for this year. I was last year too, but I think this year everything is looking up.”

Porte opened his 2018 account at the Tour Down Under on a strong note, finishing second overall and claiming a fifth consecutive victory on the queen stage to Willunga Hill.

It bodes well for the Tasmanian, who will compete at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Victoria before returning to Europe.

The 20th edition of the Tour Down Under doubled as Porte’s return to stage racing following a crash at the Tour de France in which he fractured his pelvis and broke a collarbone.

“It would have been nice to do a Grand Tour [last year]. If you finish the Tour or Vuelta it’s nice to have that in the legs to start the next season. But all things considered I’m pretty happy to be second here with a stage win as well,” he said.

“Coming back as a defending champ, it would have been nice to win again but I think my team did all we could to try and win the race.”

Porte wins Willunga battle but loses TDU war to Impey
Daryl Impey leads Richie Porte on a countback of Santos Tour Down Under stage results after a dramatic finish at Willunga.