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Richie Porte confirms no Tour de France return in farewell season

Tasmanian star hints Giro d'Italia, one-week stage races will be goals in swansong season.

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Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) won’t be returning to the Tour de France in his final year in the bunch.

Instead, the 36-year-old Tasmanian says he wants to check off a few more boxes before retiring, with a possible return to the Giro d’Italia in what would be his final grand tour.

“If I can close the circle there, that would be a dream,” Porte told the AAP in an interview. “It’s a race I’ve always enjoyed.”

The Giro is where Porte made his big splash back in 2010, when he was the revelation of the peloton after riding into the pink jersey, winning the youth category, and finishing seventh overall.

Over the next decade, the Tasmanian emerged as one of the most consistent riders in the pack, winning more than 30 races in his career, capped by third overall at the 2020 Tour.

That podium made him only the second rider in Australian history to finish on the Tour podium. Cadel Evans won the yellow jersey in 2011.

‘One more go of it’ — Porte to wind down career in 2022

The 2020 Tour de France podium in Paris
Porte became only the second Australian to hit the podium with third at 2020 Tour de France. (: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Porte, who turns 37 in January 2022, said he’ll also target some of the one-week races throughout the year.

“It’s nice to still be at the pointy end of bike races at 36 against these young kids who are so incredibly talented,” he told AAP. “It’s been a brilliant ride, but one more go at it. I’d like to be competitive still … otherwise, it’s wasting our time as a family.”

Porte is expected to race next month at the Santos Festival of Cycling, a place-holder event following the cancelation of the Tour Down Under for the second year due to the coronavirus.

From there, it’s a return to Europe, with likely starts at such races as Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Romandie.

“The one thing the team (Ineos) really wants out of it is for me to enjoy my last year,” he said. “It’s also my plan.”