Richie Porte had his wife’s blessing to miss the birth of their daughter to compete in this year’s Tour de France, but it came with an important caveat.
- Richie Porte locked up third spot on the podium with a strong time trial in the penultimate stage
- Gemma Porte gave birth to their daughter, Eloise, two weeks ago
- He said she told him: “Go to the Tour [but] if you’re at the back of the peloton, I’ll be a little bit pissed”
After becoming the second Australian to secure a podium finish at cycling’s biggest race, Porte said wife Gemma was succinct in her messaging before he left.
“[She] said to me, ‘Go to the Tour, do your thing … [but] if I turn the television on and you’re at the back of the peloton, I’ll be a little bit pissed,'” he said.
“I came here and I knew I had a mission to achieve. To miss the birth — I feel like this goes a little bit of the way to make it worthwhile.”
Porte, who has had injuries and illness derail Tour de France campaigns in the past, said coronavirus-imposed rescheduling of the race that saw it clash with the baby’s due date was on brand for him.
“I guess that’s just me, the luck I have, that I would miss the birth of my daughter,” he said.
Gemma Porte, who met her husband when he was at Team Sky between 2012 and 2016, was tuning in from home with their two-week-old, Eloise.
After watching the Launceston native time-trial his way into third place overall in the race’s penultimate stage, the new mum was understandably tired.
“I need a drink … how much can you drink whilst breastfeeding exactly?” she joked on Twitter.
‘One of the best days of my life’
In the wake of his historic performance, Richie Porte recalled his childhood days watching Le Tour at all hours of the night and early morning back in Tasmania.
He described it as the realisation of a dream.
“I look forward to getting to Paris and getting the race over and done with and take that step on the podium,” he said
“It’s going to be one of the best days of my life.”
With the final stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris effectively a flat ceremonial stage, the general classification (GC) placings are basically locked in.
The only thing realistically up for grabs are green-jersey points, including an all-out assault for a stage win among the sprinters.
As fellow Australian Caleb Ewan tries to win the prestigious final sprint for the second straight year (and a sixth stage win in the past two years), Porte and the other GC contenders will be doing their best to stay out of the muck.
And national ties be damned, Porte hopes the man who was designated as his bodyguard during the race, world road race champion Mads Pedersen, can get a look-in on the Champs Elysees.
“If he doesn’t have to babysit me like he did for the last three weeks, then [getting out of the way is] the best thing I can do,” Porte said.
“He deserves a win tomorrow. It would be the cherry on the cake.”