Sky turn to Porte in a storm

Sir Dave BrailsfordTeam Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford has backed Richie Porte to fill the void left by the retirement of Chris Froome during the remainder of the Tour de France (Porte – 8/1 Tour de France Outright).

Defending champion Froome was forced to call time on this year’s prestigious race after crashing twice on Wednesday’s stage five, while already riding with pain in his wrist after an earlier fall on Tuesday.

And, following on from Mark Cavendish’s exit after stage one in North Yorkshire, it has been a miserable few days for Team Sky as they go in search of a third straight win in the gruelling, three-week race.

Attention in the team will now turn to Australian Porte, who is the team leader by default and the man they will look to to close the gap on current ovrall leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy (Nibali – 4/5 Outright Winner).

The Tasmanian is only one minute 54 seconds behind the leader and, far from being downbeat, Brailsford believes Froome’s misfortune has given the 29-year-old Aussie a great opportunity to show excatly what he can do.

“One man’s loss is another man’s opportunity,” he said. “We really believe in Richie. He had a slow start to the season and is maybe fresher than he would normally be coming into this stage of the season.”

Whether or not Porte has the ability to overhaul Nibili only time will tell, but there are other titles up for grabs before they all reach the Champs-Elysees, and Brailsford feels Porte could do some serious damage when the going gets steep (Porte – 16/1 King Of The Mountains Winner).

“The way he is climbing at the minute we have an exciting couple of weeks to come,” he added.

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