Richie Porte interview from the Rapha blog

playing virtual giro on velogames and he is my main hope – this article is quite cool.


Team Sky go into battle in Italy this month with Richie Porte a contender for the pink jersey. Chris Froome’s most trusted lieutenant has turned general this year, leading Team Sky from the front to take several stage race wins since the start of the season. Rapha sat down with the Australian to talk leadership, the sweet taste of victory and war stories from the road.

Hi Richie. You’ve had a brilliant start to the season, how does it feel?

It’s been more than I’d hoped for, especially after last season – the disaster that that was. To be honest, it’s quite surreal how well this season has gone so far. It’s always nice to win races like Paris-Nice, Catalunya and the Willunga stage of the Tour Down Under, but to be honest that all counts for nothing. The Giro is my big goal and that’s where I want to be at my best.

You have been in superb form since January. Is there ever a worry that you may have peaked early? 

It’s not really difficult for me and that’s because we’ve got guys like Tim Kerrison and the [Team Sky] Performance Team behind us. I think Tim’s been fantastic with Brad [Wiggins] and Chris [Froome] over the years regarding when they’ve peaked and so I take confidence from that. I’m much more motivated this season than I have been in the past, and the Giro is my big opportunity to lead a team. I’m going to take that opportunity with both hands.

Why are you more motivated this year?

After you have a bad season, you look back on that and then think about how good it feels to win a race. It’s just an unbelievable feeling – for me that’s my motivation. To win any race is hard, but to have eight or nine victories like I have so far… it’s contagious.

After winning the Volta a Catalunya in March, you spoke about it giving you greater belief in yourself. Has confidence ever been a problem for you? 

Confidence is a massive part of professional cycling. I’m confident in my ability, but to go to a race like Catalunya, which on paper wasn’t that great for me, up against someone in form like [Alejandro] Valverde, isn’t easy. And to win there, where I’ve only really got bad memories, it is a massive bonus for the morale.

How do you find being the team leader at races?

I wouldn’t say it is something that comes naturally to me but I’d say that over the years I’ve worked with some fantastic leaders, from Alberto [Contador] and the Schleck brothers when I was with Saxo, to Bradley in 2012 and Chris in 2013. I’m more used to riding for somebody, but with the steps I’ve taken this year I’ve embraced having those seven or eight guys commit to me.

How would you describe yourself as a leader?

Probably a little bit more stressed than Chris! Obviously he is very laid back, and so was Brad. I’m not sure what the other guys would say but I don’t think I’m that hard to work for! I like to hit the front and race from there. At the end of the day, in any team it’s easier to work for a guy who is finishing it off and winning. My big goal going into the Giro is obviously to go for as high a GC as I can get.

The 2010 edition of the race, when you wore the pink jersey for three days, must hold fond memories for you? 

To grow up watching the Giro and then to be in that massive break where for 200km I realised that I was going to be in the pink jersey as long as I kept it upright and not get dropped – it still gives me goose bumps to think about it. Other than the yellow jersey I think the pink jersey is probably the most beautiful one to wear in professional cycling.

Do you enjoy riding in Italy?

Italy is where I did my amateur days – I moved there from Australia in 2007. I like the way the Italians do it. When we stay in Italy for races, at the hotels they take such pride in their food and their coffee and that mixes so well with cycling. Even though I live in Monaco I find I often ride into Italy for the coffee, the piadini and the focaccias. I just love it – it’s so simple, but it works.

Are there any Italian riders, past or present, that you particularly enjoy watching?

You’d probably look back to Basso in the CSC days, with the class he used to ride with. Either that or Paolo Savoldelli – I used to love watching him, the way he used to go down the descents like a lead balloon. Someone who I also loved watching, although he’s not Italian, is Michael Wilson. He was the first Aussie winner of a stage of the Giro – a real trailblazer – and he had a massive influence on me. I saw Rapha did a film about him in my hometown of Launceston and it was almost emotional to watch because from where I’m from, almost nobody knows who Michael is and what he’s done. He’s such a humble champ.

Who do you think will be your main rivals this year?

I think it’s Contador’s race to lose. He’s the guy that has won the race before and I think he’s motivated. There are other guys like [Fabio] Aru or Rigoberto [Uran], my old team mate. He’s been second two years in a row so he knows what he’s doing. He’s such a cool champion too – I respect him and look forward to racing against him.

How will you unwind post-stage to take your mind off the racing? 

I love it on the bus afterwards. That’s your mental break: you get on the bus, have your shower, eat and talk to your teammates. Somebody has always got a story, a near miss, or an argument they had with another rider – I love it. Then obviously at the dinner table it’s good to hear some of the war stories. I love listening to Bernie (Eisel), Brad (Wiggins) and Mick Rogers when he was on our team, talking about the days of suffering they’ve had at the grand tours.

If you win, how much celebrating will you do before thoughts turn to July? 

I’ve got a good mate and his wife coming to stay with me and my fiancée for a few days so I’m sure there would be some pretty big celebrations. After the Giro I’m off to Manchester for ten days because that’s where my fiancée is from and I’m really looking forward to using that as my recovery period. Then it’s all eyes on the Tour!


Rapha festive 500 – the comp to win a fine feather bike – but I will be in cuba sans bike

The popular Rapha Festive 500 will be returning soon, the now annual challenge to ride 500km over the Christmas period, and this year there are prizes to be won including a Ricky Feather frame with a unique Rapha Continental paint scheme. That’s enough motivation right there to get you out the front door and battle the elements and tick off the mileage, if it were needed.

The popular Rapha Festive 500 will be returning soon, the now annual challenge to ride 500km over the Christmas period, and this year there are prizes to be won including a Ricky Feather frame with a unique Rapha Continental paint scheme. That’s enough motivation right there to get you out the front door and battle the elements and tick off the mileage, if it were needed.

So miles mean prizes, and there are more, including a load of Rapha clothing, a very fine Race Notes leather-bound book, and the Great Road Climbs book by Graeme Fife. What do you have to do to stand a chance to win one of these prizes we hear you ask? Rapha simply wants to hear your stories as you embark on the challenge, and the best-told stories will stand a chance of winning a prize. There are three categories – Most Inclement, Best Story, Prix de la Combativité, Best Photography, and a Grand Prize for Creativity.

Of course you need to actually ride 500km as well – the idea is that you ride 500km (311 miles) between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and post evidence of your efforts. That’s eight riding days, so you’ll need to average 62.5km (about 39 miles) per day.

This is your chance to get creative. Document your 500km with photos, share them on the internet, print them out and post them to Rapha, scribble illustrations after every ride. Write a poem. Film it, send postcards, anything you want to do to record the Festive 500 is encouraged and welcomed. Remember, it’s meant to be a bit of fun.

You can view the full details of the challenge and all the prizes here


Rapha city guides

In Copenhagen –
From TRAVEL GADGET: Rapha’s City Cycling Guide to Europe
I’ve just returned from a rather ambitious Europe circuit on road.

Well, it’s definitely on motorized wheels for me, but I found these resonating with me – not of prospects of me hopping on a human powered bike soon, but rather of friends who are circumventing the earth on them, and of the various European cyclists – some as old as 60 years and some solo – covering the lengths of Addis Ababa to Nairobi (reversed as well) in February this year.

By now, you’ll know I am drawn to serious gadgets and cutesy travel type books. This is the latter: Rapha’s City Cycling Europe.

It covers eight volumes – Amsterdam, Antwerp/Ghent, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Milan, and Paris – and offers bike practicalities, highlights to hit by bike, and the differences in bike culture (and how to ride safely) in each city which is very useful. But rest assured, unlike Asia or the big continent (US), Europe respects someone on two wheels every bit as much as four.

At 64 pages or so, the guides are small enough to fit in a wide jersey pocket and light enough that you’d take them with you.

But Rapha’s City Cycling Europe true value lies in their inspiration: The writing by Max Leonard and Andrew Edwards is lively. The design by local artist in each location is lovely and authentic, with the retro-Euro look throughout. The maps are extensive and fun to immerse yourself in. The viewpoint is urbane, and the overall sense is that bicycle travel is every bit as noble as any other kind.

Any passionate cyclist would love you for getting it for them …

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Key Features:

Exclusive slipcase

115 × 175mm (Rapha jersey pocket sized)

See the City Guides training and racing routes addendum – complete with ridewithgps. Apps


Post eTape washing day blues

Still reliving the race sorry sportive. I think 130km is a good indictor if clothes are working and I must say I am so impressed with the Rapha gear. That is 3 months of riding and not one niggle – everything well made and works. The bib shorts in particular are up there with assos and the better Castelli stuff – the pad is really comfy. Whilst I am a MED rapha top – the MED bib shorts are on the small side of medium – think the bibs are more Italian sizing (like Castelli in which I have a large – as I am a 31inch waist) but still comfy and almost has a compression quality for the legs.

My whole setup is good now – the only niggle is in the shoe dept. think I need to invest in better shoes – the entry level shimano shoes I start to feel every part of the sole after 60+km. But still alright at the moment.

Monday Bike Style: Mr Rapha (sir!)


PORTLAND, OREGON — May 14, 2013 — Simon Mottram, founder of Rapha Racing Ltd., an upscale bicycle apparel brand, has seen his creation rocket from T-shirt obscurity to trend setting success. Motoya Nakamura/The Oregonian


Cycling in the Cold – aka don’t wimp out in winter

My first really cold ride, at -6C, was in January last year doing the the Strathpuffer 24. but preparation made it easy with ice spike tyres …. and enough layers to make an onion scared.

This year i have been hitting the turbo which is not a great thing as there are only so many cardio fat burn whilst watching Breaking Bad sessions I can do

I couldn’t stand the thought of riding indoors again, especially for a two-hour ride. Some will call it justification, but I prefer to call it logic.  Cycling outdoors in the fresh air and sun would be much better for my mental and physical well-being than riding an indoor trainer for two hours.

icy roads
icy roads

No, I didn’t have to ride outdoors; it was a well-thought-out choice, a preference. After doing that first really cold ride, I now know that I can do it and I much prefer being outside than inside.


I don’t think riding outside in sub-freezing temperatures is necessarily dangerous, but I do believe certain precautions are wise:

  • If the roads are snow-packed or icy, try to choose a route that has low traffic volume.
  • Relearn how to brake – a fistful of brake can see you hit the deck pretty hard
  • Minimize long downhill sections to avoid getting cold from wind chill.
  • A mountain bike, with its wide tires, is more stable than a road bike.
  • Run lower tire pressure to increase traction and handling.
  • Ride with a buddy so that if one of you has trouble, there is another person to lend a hand.
  • Carry disposable chemical hand or toe warmers. They can be put in your shoes if your toes get cold, or can be used to warm your hands if you have to do a mechanical repair.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Have someone available to pick you up if you call for help.


I’m sure you already know that some people show up in a jersey and knee warmers for the same ride that someone else will be wearing leg warmers, arm warmers, a vest and a base layer shirt. I’ll give you my personal preferences for cold-weather riding gear, but know that I get cold easily.

Recently, I did a ride where the temperature ranged from 10.9 degrees to about -2C degrees, not counting wind chill. I’ll take you through my outfit from head to toe.

and ear muff thing


Merino inner layer
Rapha long sleeve Jersey
Rapha Gilet
Rain Jersey – more as emergency extra windproof layer

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rapha 3/4 bibs
old arm warmers as lower leg warmers (leg warmers may be better)

Shimano shoes and neoprene covers

Gloves long fingered but not very thick

If the weather gets colder i sometimes wear my Nike running tights over the cycling bib and a thicker jersey over the long sleeve on instead of the Gilet. A neck warmer is handy too for the chin.