Special Interest Matter
27 October 2020
Ms ARMITAGE - Mr President, today I speak about an extraordinary homegrown hero, Richie Porte, who has very recently taken out a podium finish at the 2020 Tour de France, an incredible achievement and only the second Australian rider to do so, following the victory of Cadel Evans in 2011.
Richie was born in Launceston in 1985 and is well and truly a local boy. He grew up in Hadspen, attending Hagley Farm Primary School and St Patrick's College where now a sport's award at the Croagh Patrick Campus is named in Richie's honour, being annually awarded to the best athlete in year 9.
A well-rounded sportsman and athlete, Richie was a triathlete until the age of 21 when he switched his focus to cycling and spent two successful seasons racing at amateur level in Europe. In 2010, Richie signed with Team Saxo Bank, a professional cycling team, during which time he made a big splash in the world of professional cycling, featuring prominently in a number of stages of the Giro d'Italia, Paris-Nice and Tour de Romandie races and wining stage 5 of the Tour of Denmark.
In 2012, it all kicked up a gear when Richie was signed to Team Sky, playing a key role in the victory of fellow teammate Chris Froome in the 2013 Tour de France, which was rewarded by being given the opportunity to lead Team Sky in the Giro d'Italia in 2014. Tragically, however, a recurrent chest infection marred his ability to compete to his best ability and he was forced to sit out for the rest of the year following the Giro d'Italia so that he could rest up for the 2015 season.
In 2016, Richie joined BMC Racing and in the 2017 season won the Tour de Romandie and the Tour Down Under among other achievements and a number of European races. In 2018, Richie won the Tour de Suisse, finished second in the Tour Down Under and took out third place at the Tour de Romandie but, unfortunately, he crashed out of the Tour de France suffering a fractured collarbone and hip and was ruled out of the latter stages of the season.
Following his recovery, Richie moved on to the Trek-Segafredo team in 2019 with which he rode in the 2020 Tour de France, an especially unusual year for the race given the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, and not being a favourite to make a podium finish, Richie found himself in ninth place overall by the end of the second week. By stage 17 he was in fourth place, which is where he remained going into the decisive and only individual time trial of the tour. Thanks to his strong performance, he finished the stage in third place, also finishing the tour third overall, making his first podium finish and his best result to date in a grand tour event. Richie's determination was all the more reinforced when his second child, a daughter named Eloise, was born during the final stages of the event, and he raced home so that he could meet his little two-week-old girl and little sister to Luca, aged two.
In fact, knowing Richie was likely still going to be racing when Eloise would be born, Richie's wife Gemma said, 'Go do it, but I don't want to see you loafing at the back of the peloton' - advice that Richie, as a dutiful husband and father and rider, obviously took on board.
It was announced last month that Richie was to move to INEOS Grenadiers with a two‑year contract from 2021 onwards - a testament to an extraordinarily impressive career to date. A true Launceston local, and I think I speak for all Launcestonians and indeed all members of this place when I say that Richie is an extraordinary young Tasmanian and we are all so very proud of his achievements to date.
We should also congratulate Richie's mum and dad, Penny and Ian Porte, as we all know the amount of training, discipline, time and effort Richie's parents must have put in over many years to provide him with the opportunity to go for his dreams.
I am sure all members here join me in wishing Richie all the very best for the upcoming events in the next riding season.Well done Richie Porte, a true local hero.