Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford is confident Richie Porte will be able to win a Grand Tour.
Porte was supposed to lead Team Sky at the Giro d'Italia last month but after falling ill during the Tirreno-Adriatico he had to withdraw from the Volta a Catalunya and the Giro, but Brailsford believes Porte has all the attributes to win a Grand Tour in the future, potentially even next year.
According to Cycling Weekly, Brailsford said: “Oh yeah, I believe in Riche Porte 100 percent. He’s a fantastic climber, he gets time trialling right. With the right parcours and the right race, then I think he can win a Grand Tour,” explained Brailsford.
“He’s very close. Once he gets [his rhythm] back he’s definitely a force to reckon with.”
Porte hasn't raced as much as planned leading up to the Criterium du Dauphine and Tour de France and it was thought that Brailsford may have lost confidence in the Australian as he hasn't been involved in racing recently.
However Brailsford was quick to say he still has confidence in him.
“I haven’t lost confidence in him. You have to look at the bigger picture, not just the performances over the last months.”
Porte has shown in the last couple of seasons that he has what it takes to lead a team and potentially win a Grand Tour. Last year the 29-year-old won Paris-Nice, came second in the Criterium International, Tour of the Basque Country and Criterium du Dauphine.
Despite suffering from illness this year Porte finished second in the Vuelta a Andalucía and fourth in the Tour Down Under.
Porte was told to take a break after he fell ill and now he is back Brailsford is happy to see him racing well.
“Because after Tirreno, he never quite got back on top of things. We said, ‘You need a proper break’. He’s come back, building up again and doing well.”
Porte is currently helping Chris Froome in the Criterium du Dauphine this week but Brailsford thinks the end of the race will be a good indication to where the team are at.
“You need to wait until the end of the week to see where we are at instead of after every single hour and every single race.”
Froome was supported by Porte in the Tour de France last year and Brailsford will hope they can achieve the same result as the 2013 race so that Froome can win the yellow jersey for a second year running.
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