• Richie Porte (r) alongside Tadej Pogacar (m) Primoz Roglic (l) on the Tour de France 2020 podium. (Getty)Source: Getty
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) produced his best Tour de France performance, avoiding the crashes that have marred previous attempts at the general classification.
SBS Cycling Central

21 Sep 2020 - 6:02 AM  UPDATED 21 Sep 2020 - 6:46 AM

The Tour de France podium had seemed like it was beyond Porte after previous Julys in France found the Tasmanian dogged by poor luck, crashes and bad days that cost him valuable chances at a top Tour placing.

All that remained was the final stage in Paris, what some call the procession in Paris, and while the race starts out with slow riding, pictures being taken and chat in the peloton, the final 60 kilometres is as fast as any normal race.

"This stage is not a procession as they say," said Porte. "The pave here is not the nicest to ride on. To stand on the podium was just unbelievable. Just such a great moment and I got to savour that today."

Pogačar wins Tour de France
Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) won the Tour de France on the eve of his 22nd birthday, finishing the traditional final stage on the Champs-Élysées within the main bunch and securing the win.
'Now I can retire happy, this means everything' - Porte climbs onto Paris podium
Richie Porte raced the time trial of his life on the Planche des Belles Filles, riding himself onto the podium in Paris and etching another place in Australian cycling history.

The future will remember Porte as a podium-getter at the Tour de France, standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées. His time trial to vault himself onto the podium on the penultimate stage was a significant part of the action that populated that dramatic stage. 

Porte was asked what the most significant moment was for him, where he knew he was going well.

"For me, probably the stage where I really started to believe was Grand Colombier (Stage 15)," said Porte. "Obviously, the Slovenian guys were the strongest there but I was third. The time trial yesterday, it was one of the best time trials I've done in my career.

Porte leads into final metres of Grand Colombier climb
Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) continues to impress at the Tour de France, again looking the best of the rest of the climbers behind the top two on the general classification.
Porte remains in GC battle after 'close shave' in Stage 14
Trek-Segafredo managed to pull off a bike swap in the final ten kilometres of Stage 14 to ensure Australian Richie Porte finished with the peloton and maintained his assault on the yellow jersey.
'It's far from a huge disaster' - Porte, Ewan caught out in crosswind chaos
The only two Australians at the 2020 Tour de France suffered terribly in the crosswinds during the chaotic seventh stage.

Porte did cop a time loss on the windy Stage 7 of the Tour, missing the split when the pace was applied by INEOS Grenadiers. The minute and 21 second time loss was one that in the end did not affect his podium position at all, he was over two minutes behind second-placed Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) on the final standings, with a handy buffer on fourth-placed Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren).

Porte battled back from inopportune punctures on Stages 14 and 18, negating some of the moments that have resulted in big-time losses in past Grand Tours. Porte recognised the long road that has brought him to this point.

"It's been such a journey," he said. "I'm just so happy to be on the podium at a Grand Tour."

The podium of the 2020 Tour de France

The Australian stood on the podium next to two Slovenians, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and 21-year-old Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). Porte, heavily rumoured to be moving to INEOS Grenadiers next season to ride as a super-domestique, was asked what advice he would give to the young Slovenian star.

"I don't think I can give him any advice, he's just a massive talent," said Porte. "He's so raw, he's just so good. We're going to see a lot more from him in the years to come."

As the sun sets in Paris on the final stage of the 2020 Tour de France, Porte will be jet-setting to Monaco to meet his newborn daughter, Eloise, whose birth he missed during the race. A new career and life await Porte from now on, one where he'll have to make less of these sacrifices, but the podium in Paris will remain long in the memory.