Porte ready for Froome battle


Richie Porte may have filled the role of trusty lieutenant to Chris Froome during his Team Sky days but the BMC Racing rider is ready to put friendships to one side in the battle for the Tour de France yellow jersey.

Froome's two Tour victories came with Porte alongside him, the Australian proving a valuable ally by putting in the hard yards to help keep his team-mate at the top of the general classification.

After three years with Team Sky Porte opted to leave for BMC to become a team leader, a role that has seen him claim third at Paris-Nice and fourth at the Criterium du Dauphine.

Porte will co-lead BMC during the Tour with Tejay van Garderen with the yellow jersey in their sights, and the 31-year-old is ready to put his friendship with Froome on hold as they battle for the win.

"Off the bike we're still friends, but on the bike we're rivals. It's no different with him than it is with Nairo Quintana or anyone else. I still want to beat him," he told a news conference.

"I'm friends with a lot of the guys [at Team Sky]. In the races earlier this season one of the guys I've been banging the bars with most was Luke Rowe who also happens to be one of my best friends.

"It gets silly if you get caught up on how Froome rides. There are 197 other riders in the race. We're going to focus on this team and the race. I don't expect any favours of these guys and neither do they from me. It's a bike race."