Richie Porte says chest infection put paid to Tour de France hopes

Team Sky rider, more than a quarter of an hour off race lead, now aims to make it to Paris

by Simon_MacMichael   July 20, 2014  

Richie Porte World Recce YouTube still

Richie Porte, second overall in the Tour de France on Friday morning but now 14th overall more than a quarter of an hour off the race lead, says he has been struggling with a chest infection. The Team Sky rider’s his main objective for the rest of the race now is to make it to Paris for the finale next Sunday.

As the race headed into the Alps for Friday’s Stage 13 the Tasmanian, made team leader after defending champion Chris Froome crashed out on Stage 5, had a deficit of just 2 minutes 23 seconds on race leader Vincenzo Nibali of Astana.

But on Friday, Porte shipped more than 8 minutes to the Italian, winner of the stage in Chamrousse, and yesterday lost almost five minutes to him, and now lies 16 minutes 3 seconds down.

Team medical staff are assessing the 29-year-old’s condition on a daily basis, and after yesterday’s stage, he told TeamSky.com: "I’ve not been feeling 100% so I've gone on antibiotics to try and knock the infection on the head.

“I’ve been feeling it on my lungs and haven’t been breathing well.

"It’s really disappointing, especially as this was my first real chance to show what I could do in the Tour.

“All the guys have been riding so strongly for me but this bug has really taken it out of me, and it’s just one of those things unfortunately.

“I’m going to take things day by day but I really want to complete the Tour and hopefully I’ll be able to make it to Paris,” he added.

Before the start of this morning’s Stage 15, Porte told Australian journalist Rupert Guinness that he hopes to have recovered sufficiently to have an opportunity to do something in the Pyrenees in the coming days.

13 user comments

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Why do pro riders and their teams always say "chest infection" or "bronchitis" and not that they have a cold? I'm sure that at their level of elite competition a minor cold would be enough to add several minutes to their time on the climbs they do.

And why do they always seem to be prescribed antibiotics? Antibiotics for colds or bronchitis is something the NHS is trying to stamp out. They're caused by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics. Antibiotics are only recommended for particularly vulnerable patients, to prevent the possibility of pneumonia developing. Maybe pro cyclists fit that category, since extreme physical exertion suppresses the immune system?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1347 posts]
20th July 2014 - 12:05

31 Likes

Healthy bunch, Team Sky. Maybe they should employ a doc who knows about staying healthy whilst racing, LOL.

posted by daddyELVIS [413 posts]
20th July 2014 - 12:17

27 Likes

cat1commuter wrote:
Why do pro riders and their teams always say "chest infection" or "bronchitis" and not that they have a cold? I'm sure that at their level of elite competition a minor cold would be enough to add several minutes to their time on the climbs they do.

And why do they always seem to be prescribed antibiotics? Antibiotics for colds or bronchitis is something the NHS is trying to stamp out. They're caused by viruses, which are not affected by antibiotics. Antibiotics are only recommended for particularly vulnerable patients, to prevent the possibility of pneumonia developing. Maybe pro cyclists fit that category, since extreme physical exertion suppresses the immune system?

Probably because it isn't a cold or a virus. Putting yourself on the line for as long as they do with the TdF is likely to stress the body and weaken it's natural immunity. This means that bacteria which normally live in the lungs can get more of a hold and impair normal breathing. Sometimes the bacteria are external pathogens and the infection is worse. Anti-biotics would certainly help against a bacterial infection.

What I find more interesting is the way in which such a normal response seems to be avoided by the top riders. They ride imperiously around without seemingly been affected by such things. One way of combating the immune deficiency is steroids....you'd think that on at least one day or so the top rider might struggle a bit with being able to keep up the level of intensity. It's a credit to Porte that he is human, less so to the current yellow jersey rider. I'm not saying that he has to lose time on all the other riders, but there should be much more of an ebb and flow to the strength of the riders. This is why most tour winners have not held the yellow for 18-19 stages.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1154 posts]
20th July 2014 - 12:29

34 Likes

daddyELVIS wrote:
Healthy bunch, Team Sky. Maybe they should employ a doc who knows about staying healthy whilst racing, LOL.

That is the exact type of 'Doctor' they have said they won't employ.



Suffering from Low Cadence.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1314 posts]
20th July 2014 - 13:14

25 Likes

Team Sky doing their bit for antibiotic resistance by stuffing Porte with prescription drugs when they don't, can't, possibly know if it is a bacterial infection or a virus (or even an excuse)

Really, though?

posted by workhard [385 posts]
20th July 2014 - 14:08

20 Likes

bikeboy76 wrote:
daddyELVIS wrote:
Healthy bunch, Team Sky. Maybe they should employ a doc who knows about staying healthy whilst racing, LOL.

That is the exact type of 'Doctor' they have said they won't employ.

...did employ, until they got found out!

posted by daddyELVIS [413 posts]
20th July 2014 - 15:02

17 Likes

Everytime a Sky rider can't keep up with the pace.....Oh, he's ill.....I'm starting to smell bullshit.

Why can't they just be honest, well maybe they are, but it is becoming an overused phrase by Sky.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8902 posts]
20th July 2014 - 18:08

22 Likes

It would be a curious experiment to count the number of times professional riders has claimed illness in the past 12 months compared to previous years.

Maybe it's just me, but it does seem like it has happened way more recently than I recall in years past.

Similarly with Wiggin's riding the National TT champs but then pulling out of the Road Race with an unspecified 'injury'. What happened to simply 'not being good enough this year'?

posted by giobox [293 posts]
20th July 2014 - 20:54

17 Likes

In an interview with an Australian media outlet, Porte said, “At the moment my aim is to finish the race, but the doctor wants me to take it day by day. Obviously, there is no point in absolutely killing myself to make it Paris."

I suspect Porte won't start on Tuesday. Vuelta here he comes!

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [225 posts]
21st July 2014 - 0:27

10 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Everytime a Sky rider can't keep up with the pace.....Oh, he's ill.....I'm starting to smell bullshit.

Why can't they just be honest, well maybe they are, but it is becoming an overused phrase by Sky.

How do you know they aren't honest?
Oh thats right you're the all seeing oracle...

Plenty of other teams have used the same reason for a poor performance, I don't see you calling bullshit on them?

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [431 posts]
21st July 2014 - 8:10

18 Likes

Why bother racing to the finish ?

Froome will almost certainly tackle the Vuelta and he will want Porte there, nobody on this forum knows if he is really ill or not, but it does make sense to pull him and save him for the Vuelta, but if they did want to do that, its not something they could publicly say as the Tour organisers would go ape shit.

posted by mikeprytherch [219 posts]
21st July 2014 - 10:14

4 Likes

cat1commuter wrote:

And why do they always seem to be prescribed antibiotics? Antibiotics for colds or bronchitis is something the NHS is trying to stamp out.

My missus has reasonably bad asthma, when she picks up a cold she has to be quite careful as it can quite rapidly shift into a full blown chest infection so whenever she starts feeling it's going that way she gets antibiotics to nip it in the bud.
There's probably a similar process for pro cyclists, if the doctor thinks it's going that way then get them on a course of antibiotics before they're wiped out and out of the race, or in bed rest mode for a week or two. It's better to deal with it by allowing your immune system to thrash it out of course, but if you're mid-race you probably just want to keep going.

posted by nicholassmith [68 posts]
21st July 2014 - 10:37

9 Likes

keep going Ritchie Applause

posted by steven miles [23 posts]
21st July 2014 - 19:49

9 Likes