When the Tour of Britain came to a
premature conclusion last Thursday evening, so ended the career of Richie Porte. After 13 years spent competing at the highest level of the sport, and after 33 professional victories, the 37-year-old Tasmanian is very much ready to be done with racing.
As Porte rides off into the sunset, to what he hopes will be “a normal life”, we wanted to take the opportunity to look back at what has been a wonderful career.
A triathlete in his early years, Porte turned to cycling seriously in 2006. From 2007 to 2009 he split his time between racing in the Italian amateur system and with the Praties team in Australia. A win in the time trial at the Baby Giro in 2009 earned Porte a contract with top-tier team Saxo Bank for 2010. Thus began 13 years in the ProTour/WorldTour.
Porte’s neo-pro season was remarkable – he took his first ProTour win, then finished seventh at the Giro d’Italia (his first Grand Tour), spent a few days in pink, and ended up winning the best young rider classification. Those results painted a picture of a Grand Tour champion in the making.
While Porte never ended up winning a Grand Tour, he proved instrumental in helping his teammates do so. And in 2020, he managed to reach the final podium at the Tour de France himself. But it was in shorter races that Porte truly made a name for himself. He’ll be remembered as one of the best one-week racers of his generation.
Of all the top one-week races on the calendar, Porte won just about all of them. Paris-Nice (twice), Critérium du Dauphiné, Volta a Catalunya, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Romandie, the Volta ao Algarve and also the Tour Down Under (twice).
He represented Australia at two Olympics (Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021) and at five elite world championships. He’ll go down as one of the greatest climbers to have come out of Australia.
The gallery below is a selection of images that tell the story of Porte’s career, including a photo from all 33 of his professional victories (i.e. in races ranked .1 or higher). Congrats on a wonderful career, Richie, and all the best for whatever comes next.
In early 2008, Porte (left) rode for the UniSA-Australia team at the Tour Down Under, a race he’d later go on to win twice.
After winning the time trial at the 2009 Baby Giro, Porte stepped up to the ProTour in 2010 with Saxo Bank.
Porte didn’t take long to take his first pro win, in a ProTour (now WorldTour) race no less: the stage 4 ITT at the Tour de Romandie (win #1).
His next race, the Giro d’Italia, would be even bigger. Porte moved into the overall lead on stage 11 …
… and spent a few days in pink.
He’d ultimately finish seventh overall and win the best young rider jersey …
… joining fellow Australians Matthew Lloyd (green KOM jersey) and Cadel Evans (red points classification) on the final podium.
Win #2: The individual time trial at the 2011 Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Coming from triathlon, time trials were an early strength of Porte’s.
Porte’s next win came in another time trial, this one at the Post Danmark Rundt in August 2011, ahead of teammate Gustav Larsson (win #3).
After two seasons with Saxo Bank, Porte joined Team Sky in 2012 where he spent much of his time riding for the likes of Bradley Wiggins.
Porte got his own opportunities too, like at the 2012 Volta ao Algarve where he won stage 3 (win #4) …
… and ultimately took out the race overall – his first professional GC victory (win #5).
Porte and Wiggins at the 2012 Volta ao Algarve.
Porte played a crucial role in helping Wiggins to overall victory at the 2012 Tour de France. Quite the team that.
Porte got the chance to lead Sky at the 2013 Paris-Nice and he duly delivered, winning stage 5 (win #6) …
… and then again on the final-stage uphill ITT (win #7) …
… to take out the race overall (win #8).
More success came just weeks later with Porte winning the ITT at the Criterium International (win #9).
He’d finish the race in second overall, behind teammate and friend Chris Froome.
At his next race, the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Porte soloed clear to win stage 5 en route to second overall (win #10).
At the 2013 Tour de France, Porte rode brilliantly in support of Froome (and against former leader Alberto Contador) …
… helping Froome to his first of four Tour titles.
Porte’s 2014 season started well with third at the Australian Road Nationals and then his first of many wins atop Old Willunga Hill at the Tour Down Under (win #11).
Sadly much of Porte’s 2014 season was derailled by illness. He raced the Tour and took leadership at Sky when Froome crashed out, but could only manage 23rd overall. He went on the attack on the Champs-Élysées of all places.
The 2015 season began with Porte winning the Australian time trial title for the first and only time in his career (win #12). (Image: Con Chronis)
He then returned to the Tour Down Under where he won on Willunga Hill for a second time (win #13).
He was soon off to the Volta ao Algarve where he took another stage victory (win #14).
And then it was time for Paris-Nice where he won stage 4 (win #15) in a one-two with teammate Geraint Thomas …
… before winning the final stage time trial in the colours of Aussie champ (win #16).
For the second time in three years Porte had won Paris-Nice (win #17).
Victory followed at the Volta a Catalunya as well. Porte didn’t win a stage but his consistent performances uphill netted him victory in another big one-week stage race (win #18).
Porte then headed to the Giro del Trentino where he took out stage 2 (win #19) …
… which ultimately led to overall victory in yet another stage race (win #20).
Porte started the 2015 Giro d’Italia with high hopes, and was sitting as high as third overall partway through the race. But things soon fell apart. He was docked two minutes on stage 10 when compatriot (but rival) Simon Clarke gave him a spare wheel. Porte ultimately left the Giro before stage 16 after being injured in a crash a few days earlier.
Porte’s next race was the 2015 Tour de France where he began the stage 1 ITT in his national colours.
But he was ultimately at the race in support of Chris Froome again …
… who rode to his second overall title.
In 2016 Porte left Sky for BMC, to get more opportunities to ride for himself. He might have been at a new team, but on Old Willunga Hill at the Tour Down Under the result was the same as in previous years: a third-straight victory for Porte (win #21).
After an early season defined by a bunch of near-misses (and a brief stint at the top of the UCI WorldTour rankings) Porte headed to the Tour de France as BMC’s leader. He lost time due to a mechanical on stage 2, and then on stage 12, on Mont Ventoux, he was climbing with Froome and Bauke Mollema when a moto stopped in front of them, bringing the trio to the ground.
Froome famously started running as he waited for a bike change, while Porte was able to ride on.
A strong ITT on stage 18 (fourth place) helped Porte move up the GC. He ended the Tour in fifth place – his best result in a Grand Tour to that point.
Porte’s final race of the 2016 season was the Olympic road race in Rio. Porte crashed on the second of three steep descents and left the race with a fractured scapula, ruling him out of the time trial the following week.
A more climber-friendly course than normal at the 2017 Tour Down Under worked in Porte’s favour. He won the uphill finish to Paracombe on stage 2 (win #22) …
… then won on Willunga in the leader’s ochre jersey a few days later to make it four wins there in four years (win #23).
After four top-10 finishes, including runner-up finishes the previous two years, Porte had finally won the TDU overall (win #24).
Back over in Europe, Porte returned to his winning ways …
… taking a solo victory on stage 7 of Paris-Nice (win #25).
In April 2017, Porte added another big stage-race victory to his palmares. Two runner-up finishes in the closing days of the Tour de Romandie gave him overall victory in the Swiss WorldTour race (win #26).
The 2017 Dauphine was a race of mixed fortunes for the Tasmanian. He won the stage 4 ITT (win #27) and moved into the overall lead a few days later.
But after leading into the final stage by more than a minute, Porte was ambushed on the road to Plateau de Solaison and ultimately lost the yellow jersey …
… to his mate Jakob Fuglsang. Porte finished second and said later he was “bitterly disappointed” with how it played out.
Porte went to the 2017 Tour de France with high hopes and was fifth overall on stage 9 when he crashed heavily while descending the Mont du Chat. He left the Tour with a broken pelvis and broken collarbone, effectively ending his season.
By January 2018, Porte was back to his usual tricks, winning on Willunga at the Tour Down Under for the fifth time in a row (win #28). He’d have to wait until June for his next win.
At the Tour de Suisse, Porte’s BMC team won the opening-stage team time trial, setting Porte up nicely in his GC tilt. He led from stage 5 through to the finish, sealing the overall win with 14th in the stage 9 individual time trial.
With overall victory at the Tour de Suisse, Porte had added yet another big one-week race to his CV (win #29).
The 2018 Tour de France started well, with BMC winning the stage 3 team time trial.
But again it would be stage 9 that would end Porte’s GC hopes. A crash left Porte with a broken collarbone, his Tour over.
The 2019 season brought with it a move to Trek-Segafredo. It began like the five before it: with a win on Willunga. (win #30).
It was closer this time around though.
Results proved harder to come by for the rest of 2019. Porte had a handful of top-fives along the way, but no victories after Willunga. At the Tour de France Porte reached as high as 10th overall and ended the race in 11th.
When the Tour Down Under returned to the uphill finish at Paracombe in 2020, Porte again took the stage win (win #31).
But when he attacked on Willunga a few days later, he was followed by Matthew Holmes who’d been in the early break. Holmes ended up taking the stage win …
… but Porte had done enough to win the Tour Down Under for the second time (win #32).
At the COVID-delayed 2020 Tour de France, Porte was fourth overall going onto the gravel of stage 18. A puncture very nearly saw him drop down the leaderboard, but a dogged fight saw him finish on roughly the same time as his biggest rivals.
An impressive third place in the stage 20 ITT saw Porte jump up to third overall.
He’d finish the Tour in that position. It’s his best-ever finish in a Grand Tour and, according to many, the greatest result in his career.
Porte returned to Sky (now Ineos Grenadiers) in 2021 for what would be the final two seasons of his career. His first race wasn’t in Ineos colours though – he was racing for the Australian national team at the Santos Festival of Cycling, a domestic-level version of the Tour Down Under that was introduced when the main race was gutted by COVID-related travel restrictions. Porte won on Willunga again, ahead of national team teammate (and soon-to-be fellow Ineos rider), Luke Plapp.
In his first race back in Europe, Porte was part of an Ineos 1-2-3 at the Volta a Catalunya, joining Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas on the podium.
After finishing second at the Tour de Romandie, Porte headed to the Dauphiné as his final lead-in to the Tour de France. He rode to sixth in the individual time trial, and climbed to second place on the penultimate day to lead into the final stage.
Porte was well supported through that final stage …
… and ultimately took his first overall victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné – another big one-week race for his palmares and the final victory of his career (win #33).
Porte came into his final Tour de France as one of several GC leaders for Ineos, but his GC hopes were effectively over on the first stage when he lost more than two minutes on a crash-filled day. He’d ultimately finish 38th overall.
At the delayed Tokyo Olympics, Porte represented Australia in both the time trial …
… and the road race.
Porte’s final season as a professional began at the 2022 Festival of Cycling in Adelaide, with the TDU again scrapped due to COVID-related travel difficulties. Porte bade farewell to Old Willunga Hill with 10th place on the stage after the day was won by Angus Lyons from the early break.
Porte headed to Tirreno-Adriatico with hopes of taking another big one-week stage race victory. He was among the best in the race but would have to settle for fourth overall.
The Giro d’Italia was the first Grand Tour of Porte’s career and it would also be his last.
But after reaching as high as ninth overall, Porte slipped down the GC in the back half of the race before abandoning on stage 19 due to illness.
And so to early September when Porte (far right) lined up for his final race as a professional: the 2022 Tour of Britain. Porte was riding in support of Tom Pidcock who was second overall when the race was cancelled after stage 5, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. And with that, the professional cycling career of Richie Porte was over.