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Richie Porte: ‘The lockdown worked well for me’

Tasmanian star to headline rebranded Tour Down Under in January.

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Richie Porte enjoyed his best season in the worst of times.

Cycling’s unprecedented months-long shutdown this season due to the coronavirus pandemic saw the Tasmanian veteran deliver a career-best Tour de France performance with third overall.

“In hindsight, the lockdown worked well for me,” Porte said.

Porte’s comments come as the lingering impacts of the ongoing pandemic reach in 2021. He’s currently in the middle of a 14-day quarantine in Perth, Australia, as he returns home.

Porte will headline the revamped Tour Down Under, which is losing its WorldTour status in 2021, but will roll-on as a locally organized pro-am event.

Other top Australian stars are also expected to race a series of criteriums and other events to coincide with the dates of the popular Town Down Under, which will take a one-year hiatus on the WorldTour calendar due to pandemic restrictions.

Anyone entering Australia is required to undergo a strict, 14-day quarantine, making it impractical for international teams to send their riders for the traditional WorldTour opener in January.

Porte is back in Australia following a strong 2020 season, bookended by a second career victory at the Tour Down Under in January and a career-best third at the Tour in September.

“I went to the Tour and had my most successful one, and it all kind of worked out really well,” Porte told organizers.

“The only problem with racing and being in good form at the Tour Down Under in 2020 was it was hard to keep that going until the Tour,” he said.

Porte endured the spring lockdown in his European base in Monaco. He revealed he was fined by local police after walking around with fellow pro Michael Matthews in Monaco, adding, “It wasn’t our finest moment.”

His wife was pregnant with their second child, and he eventually miss the birth because he was racing at the rescheduled Tour.

“It’s unfortunate they had to take the WorldTour status away but at the end of the day the world has bigger problems,” Porte said. “I think it’s the right decision.”