And he has relished being able to train on his home roads in his native Tasmania ahead of the race, made all the more special by the welcome he has received after finishing on the Tour de France podium in September.
“It’s always nice to come back to Australia, especially this year after having a good Tour de France. People appreciate what happened at the Tour. I pretty much train on the same roads everyday and I do get quite a few thumbs up and people stop on the side of the road to take a photo of me riding past or shout from their car, so it has been well received.
“Australians stay up until 3am to watch the race and then when we go to the local swimming pool with our son and see people who tell us they watched the whole race… it’s an honour, really.”
With very low levels of COVID cases, life has been relatively normal for Porte and his young family back home.
“I had the blessing of the team and my coach Tim [Kerrison] to come back and it’s nice to be back on my home roads, doing a good block of training, plus having a normal life. We did two weeks of pretty hard quarantine and Australia has done a really good job of closing the country down. Life is normal here, so it made sense to come back when we had approval.”
As well as the race, Porte has another reason to be back on home territory. At the end of the month he will receive the keys to the city of his hometown, Launceston, before packing up and coming back to Europe.
“It’s still too early to define my calendar but one of Tirreno or Paris-Nice would be my first race. We will have to see. Hopefully this year is more straightforward. We’re all hoping for that this season.”