Injured Richie Porte withdraws from Giro

The Sky rider entered the race as a favorite to win, but a crash, injuries, and a time penalty squashed his hopes for pink

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MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy (VN) — Richie Porte is headed home from the Giro d’Italia. Instead of continuing with the other 173 riders in the race, he plans to recover from his crashes and prepare for the Tour de France.

Porte led Sky into the Giro after winning three stage races in the lead-up, but penalties and crashes ruled him out of the race for the overall. He fell Friday in Jesolo, hurt his knee and hip, and lost 30 minutes over the weekend stages.

“The Giro has been my main goal this year and I’ve worked incredibly hard all season with this race in mind,” Porte said in a Sky press release.

“I’ve had a lot of back luck this week with the puncture and the time penalty, but it was the crash on Friday that has taken its toll.

“I fell heavily on my knee and hip which caused me a lot of pain on Saturday’s time trial and [Sunday]’s stage. I just wanted to keep trying and give it everything but now the medical team have advised me not to continue.”

Porte packed his bags to leave the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort at 1,715 meters above sea level, where Mikel Landa (Astana) won Sunday and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) added to his overall lead. On Monday’s rest day, Contador, Fabio Aru (Astana), and others will sit with journalists in press conferences while Porte travels to his European base in Monaco.

“I’m gutted it’s ended this way and that I can’t stay and support Leo, Elia and the team in the last week. They’ve been outstanding every step of the way and to not be able to repay that is tough,” Porte added.

“The plan for me now is to take some time off the bike, get the medical treatment that I need and reset my goals for the rest of the season and come back fighting. Hopefully I can get myself ready for the Tour team.”

Porte has five weeks to rest and to prepare for the Tour de France, where he is due to help Chris Froome toward a second title. It will also be a time of reflection.

The 30-year-old Australian won three stage races — Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya, and the Giro del Trentino — heading into the Giro and was seen as a heavy favorite. The Giro, though, did not come together due to his crash and an untimely puncture in stage 10 to Forlì. Porte lost 47 seconds in Forlì, which grew by two minutes once the jury saw that he took a wheel from rival and friend Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge).

It completes a string of disappointing grand tours for the talented cyclist. Last year, he had to skip the Giro because he fell sick and lost time in the Tour because he suffered from pneumonia.

“It shows how hard it is to win a grand tour. You need to be lucky 21 days in a row don’t you?” Porte told VeloNews in a quiet moment after the time trial to Valdobbiadene on Saturday.

“I came in as good as condition as I could, I was motivated as ever, it felt that it was a massive opportunity, but it hasn’t worked out. Now, I know what I need to do physically and mentally to prepare for this race.”

Porte descended from Madonna di Campiglio for home, but given his raw talent, he should return to the top quickly.

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