A year after his horrific crash, stage nine is crunch time again for Richie Porte at the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

1 Jul 2018 - 1:01 PM 

The Tasmanian has recovered strongly from the serious injuries he suffered in the high-speed prang.

Earlier this month, Porte had probably the biggest win of his career when he took out the Tour de Suisse.

It showed the BMC leader once again is a key rival for defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome.

But before Porte can stake his claims in the race's epic mountain stages through the Alps and Pyrenees, he must negotiate stage nine.

SBS will broadcast the Tour de France live in HD from 7-29 July. 

Also the day of soccer's World Cup final, the 156.5km stage includes more than 20km of cobbled roads that feature in the famed Paris-Roubaix classic.

It is the climax of a tricky opening portion, where favourites such as Froome and Porte must keep themselves out of trouble.

After stage nine comes a rest day and then the Alps.

"Stage nine is probably the one that strikes the most stress into me - more stress than fear," Porte said. "But everyone's in the same boat, aren't they?

"There's always some casualty - once we get those out of the way and the race proper starts in the Alps and Pyrenees, if I'm in a good position, I really think it's possible."

Porte is not a cobbles specialist but has ridden them before in the Tour de France without incident.

BMC also will have a strong team around him, featuring classics stars such as compatriot Simon Gerrans and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet.

BMC name Tour squad as uncertainty clouds its future
BMC has named a strong and experienced team to support Richie Porte for the Tour de France, with Damiano Caruso and Tejay van Garderen in the lineup.

"I wouldn't say it's my forte but I look at the team I will have ... there are some experienced guys there," Porte said.

Porte is back at the Tour after a tumultuous 12 months.

He needed time to recover from his crash injuries, then made a successful return with second overall at the January Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

Illness dented his early-season form in Europe but the Tour de Suisse was a major boost.

In the midst of the racing, Porte's wife Gemma gave birth to their first child, Luca, on June 2.

"It's been a much more steady build-up ... I'm right where I need to be, mentally and physically," Porte said.

"Of course I want to be on the podium in the Tour, that's the big goal in my professional career.

"I want that photo to hang up in my hallway."