Thieves steal Porte’s Giro motorhome.
While Richie Porte and his Sky teammates were out on a short rest day ride, thieves stole his special motorhome. The bold larceny occurred in broad daylight on the outskirts of Civitanova Marche.
Italian police have now put out an extensive search the the black and grey Fleetwood Excursion 39R vehicle in which Porte has been sleeping each night instead of constantly changing hotel rooms.
Team manager David Brailsford was clearly appalled by the disappearance of the van. “This is Sky intellectual property. We patented the stage race recovery motorhome concept and now someone has nicked it,” said Brailsford. “It’s worse that stealing all the Pinarellos, really.”
The motorhome has been big news at the Giro d’italic thanks to Sky’s novel sleeping arrangement for their Giro captain Porte. “Grand tours are won on the mountain, at the time trail and in the bed,” said Brailsford. “Somebody is trying to destroy Richie’s podium chances and I will not stand for it. We’ve begun our own investigations.”
For his part, Porte remains calm despite the loss of his hotel on wheels. “Maybe somebody just took it for a joy ride, you know? Might turn up tonight or tomorrow,” said Porte. “However, I will miss my favorite pillow. I hope I don’t get a kink in my neck.”
Team Sky has already sent a private jet back to London, so that the team can purchase two replacement pillows at Luxurious Linens on Parsons Lane in Highgate. The pillows are expected to arrive in a day and in the meantime, Porte will borrow one of Leopold Konig’s hotel pillows. “It’s not ideal but that’s bike racing,” said Porte. “Conditions are harsh. You have to know how to suffer and not having my special pillow is a bit rough but that’s life.”
Porte is just 22 seconds off the pink jersey of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) however the unexpected disruption of his sleeping arrangements may prove a blow to his podium ambitions. However, the Tasmanian hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet. “If Alberto can sleep with a dislocated shoulder then I can certainly put up few a few cheap hotels,” said Porte. “I’m not giving up just because my bed isn’t as cozy was it was.”
According to one rumor, the team has already run several proprietary algorithms to quantify the potential damage to Porte’s chances. Several scenarios have been run, with and without motorhome, going back to hotel but with favorite pillow and replacing the motorhome. Brailsford refused to be drawn into an assessment of the impacts. “The motorhome is gone and we’re moving forward. We have every expectation that Richie will win the Giro, sleep or no sleep, case closed,” said Brailsford.
The silver lining for Porte and Sky is that Porte’s special recovery pajamas were not in the motorhome when it was stolen. A Sky carer had removed the Paul Smith-designed sleepwear for an anti-bacterial treatment to protect Porte was contracting an illness. Porte must tackle the second and third week of the Giro without his motorhome but with his pillow and pajamas, the hope is that the damage is marginal.
Porte insists he won’t lose any sleep over the disappearance of his motorhome. “I still get the best hotel room — the executive suite — and the rest of the guys just get the regular rooms. So, no worries.”