Australian says climb to Fiesole on closing loop tougher than anything he's seen in a World Championship.....

Australia’s Richie Porte is the latest rider to have undertaken a recce of part of the course of this year’s UCI Road World Championships in Florence. His verdict? It’s a tough one. Porte rode the Fiesole section of the course, which will feature on the closing circuit.

Afterwards, he said of the four kilometre climb to Fiesole: “I haven’t seen anything quite so hard in a World Championship course so I think that will be crucial but also I think the distance is going to make every climb much, much harder.”

He added: "It is a big goal for me to do well on this course."

As for why he's got that big grin in the picture above? You'll just have to watch the video to find out...

The Team Sky rider, who comes from Tasmania, has had a terrific start to the 2013 season, winning the overall in Paris-Nice and finishing second overall in the Critérium International to team mate Chris Froome, and to Movistar’s Nairo Quintana in the Tour of the Basque Country.

The 28-year-old rode the route with two of Australia’s emerging riders, 22-year-old Patrick Lane and Calvin Watson, aged 20, both of whom ride for Jayco-AIS and are most likely targeting the under-23 race.

Porte’s opinion of the toughness of the course is shared by women’s road world champion Marianne Vos, who also undertook a recce last month.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.