Froome tells Porte: 'No more suffering!'

·2-min read

Richie Porte has begun the last race of his illustrious cycling career with his former teammate, the great Chris Froome, telling him: "You deserve to enjoy your retirement - no more suffering!"

Porte set off on a wet and windy day in Aberdeen on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain on Sunday, with the sport ready for a week-long salute to one of its most popular and impressive figures.

And speaking from La Vuelta a Espana, his former Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, who was helped to Tour de France glory by his old trusty Australian lieutenant, led the plaudits, admitting the peloton wouldn't be the same without his old mate.

"For me personally, he was an amazing teammate through all the big tours that I was winning," Froome, the seven-time Grand Tour winner, told Eurosport.

"But more than that, he's a good friend as well. He is just a good person who always says exactly how he's feeling."

"You know where you stand with Richie, and I will definitely miss seeing him around in the peloton.

"It's going to be quite sad not seeing him in the peloton anymore, he's been such a big part of the Grand Tours, especially over the last decade.

"My only message to him would be, "Enjoy your retirement, you've deserved it - no more suffering!'

"He's got a lot to be proud of. So I think he can definitely enjoy himself a little bit now."

Froome was one of three Tour de France winners - Brad Wiggins and Alberto Contador were the other two - who owe the 37-year-old Tasmanian a lot for his immaculate service in the biggest races.

Porte didn't win one of the Grand Tours himself but could still boast an exceptional palmares, earning one podium finish at the Tour de France and victories in a host of the sport's biggest week-long races including Paris-Nice, twice, and the Criterium du Dauphine.

He's ruled out the prospect of bowing out with a victory after an illness-truncated season but, typically, wants to end by helping one of his Ineos Grenadiers teammates earn the overall victory.

Porte came home 63rd on Sunday's opening stage in Scotland, which was won by New Zealand's Corbin Strong, who prevailed in an uphill sprint to Glenshee Ski Centre at the end of a 183.1-kilometre slog.

The Israel-Premier Tech rider raced past Porte's teammate Omar Fraile in the last few metres to nick the win and the leader's red jersey, ahead of Norway's Anders Johannessen.

Ineos's team leader, Britain's Olympic cross country mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock, finished fifth and will doubtless be looking for help on the bumpiest stages from the Australian, who lost 23 seconds in all on Sunday.

Monday's second stage, again in Scotland, covers 175.2km between Hawick and Duns.