Porte to surprise Froome at Tour? That’s a surprise.

Señor Porte?

All his bike racing talents aside, nobody has ever described BMC’s Richie Porte as “Contador-like.” Unlike the Spaniard, Porte does not have a reputation for the unexpected attacked, the tactical surprise or improvisational aggression.

That’s not to say that Porte can’t change up his style of racing — a methodical one he learned at Team Sky while riding for the methodical Chris Froome. But to suggest that he is the second coming, the Tasmanian Pistolero, seems like a stretch.

Nevertheless, there’s talk in the media and from Nicolas Roche at the BMC  camp about taking advantage of certain surprises along the road to Paris. In a cyclingweekly story headlined “How unpredictable racing could help Richie Porte beat Chris Froome at the Tour de France,” Roche says “the great thing about cycling is as predictable as it can be on some days, there are other days where anything could happen,” Roche explained.

Basically Roche is floating the idea that Porte does his new Contador impression and ambushes Froome and the Skybots. “You can take the race on at a certain point, and catch everyone out, which is one of Contador’s strong points. If you’re not focusing for a second then he’d go for it,” said Roche.

Well, we’d be excited to see that kind of strategy from Porte and BMC. In their previous attempts at the Tour de France with Tejay van Garderen, the BMC tactics were straightforward and suited to his diesel engine. Perhaps with Porte as the sole captain for the 2018 Tour, the team will become more swashbuckling. Still, that also seems a bit out of character for BMC. They don’t seem like a crazy Vegas “roll the dice” kind of operation.

All this talk of unpredictable racing was underlined this week by Steven De Jongh at Trek-Segafredo. “There are lots of ways of beating Froome and Team Sky. Surprise is one – like how you saw in the Vuelta. That was good action. It didn’t lead to winning the Vuelta for Alberto because we didn’t get enough space but Alberto is good in those kind of moves.”

Sure, no argument that Contador rides with an aggressive mindset and is always looking for a moment to spring a surprise attack. Sometime that works brilliantly and sometimes he burns his matches but he has a pretty good track record in grand Tours.

We’re just struggling with the idea of Richie Porte channeling his inner Contador.


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