By Timothy Fernandez
Australian cycling star Richie Porte’s hopes of a strong finish to the season appear to be over after Cycling Australia revealed he will miss the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Austria due to illness.
In a statement Australia’s cycling governing body said the 33-year-old has failed to adequately recover from a respiratory condition he picked up in the later stages of the Vuelta a Espana.
Porte said his illness meant he would not have the preparation required to take part in the gruelling 258.5km road race, which starts on September 30.
“I’m really disappointed to miss the road race, it was a big goal for me at the end of the season and I had been training and racing with the road race in mind,” Porte said.
“Recent illness means my preparation has been far from ideal and for a race of this difficulty … Within the Cycling Australia team, we have decided that it is in the team’s best interests if my place goes to someone else.”
The chief medical officer of Porte’s Team BMC, Dr Max Testa said he was confident the Australian would make a return to the road this season, but that he needs to rest to overcome his illness.
“He will need a few more days off the bike to recover properly which means it does not make sense for him to line up at the Worlds Championships,” Dr Testa said.
“Richie will resume training next week and will be able to race again this season.”
Cycling Australia had built their team around Porte, whose strong climbing ability is suited to the challenging course at Innsbruck.
They said they were considering their options for replacing the injured star.
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