Porte not fazed by Team Sky's mind games

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Richie Porte does not intend to let Team Sky's mind games affect his preparations for a tilt at the Tour de France general classification.

The BMC Racing rider was named as the favourite for the Grand Tour by Chris Froome and his Sky team-mates on Wednesday.

Porte - who was part of Froome's support team for victories in 2013 and 2015 - believes the comments were an attempt to divert focus away from themselves, though, and did not want to be drawn into a psychological battle.

Instead the Australian insisted defending champion Froome was still the man to beat in 2017, but acknowledged he had his best chance at winning the yellow jersey.

"Sky saying that I'm the favourite is just one of the games that they like to play," he told a media conference ahead of Saturday's first stage in Dusseldorf.

"At the end of the day behind closed doors they think they've got the guy [Froome] to do it. He's got the track record. 

"Chris is obviously the one with the biggest target on his back as the defending champion.

"But I don't think it's just going to be between Chris and I. There are so many good riders here, you can't just focus on two.

"To be honest I'm just looking forward to getting started on Saturday. These are the same guys we've raced year in, year out. Everybody's at the top of their form and I am too.

"My season has gone well so far but the biggest race and the biggest goal of the year are coming now. My goal is the podium in Paris and we've got the right team to achieve it.

"I've got a big opportunity here. I never had a team to support me at the Tour de France [before]."