'I don't think I'll be back on my bike for a good while'
RICHIE Porte has spoken of the horrific crash that ended his Tour de France.
Porte, who remains in a French hospital under observation, believes after watching footage of his accident that he is fortunate to come away with a fractured pelvis and collarbone.
"I'm in a fair bit of pain and it's a big disappointment to be honest. I think I was in great form and the teammwork was really strong around me, but after seeing the crash I also think I'm lucky to come away with the injuries I have," Porte said.
"I remember I came into the corner and it wasn't like we were going too fast or anything like that.
"I locked the back wheel up and that was it really. The next thing I was heading for the grass verge on the corner. I stayed conscious the whole time and I remember the whole thing.
"I must say thank you to the medical staff in the race and also at the hospital. They've been fantastic."
Porte's recovery time is estimated to take between four and six weeks, but whether he will race again this year is an unknown.
"I don't think I'll be back on my bike for a good while now," he said.
"The team is good with that; they say 'just recover, there's no rush to come back'. Hopefully I'll pull the BMC shirt on again by the end of the year.
"People have been so supportive and really do care, so I can't say thank you enough to all those people. It means the world to me."
BMC manager Jim Ochowicz said the team had suffered a "brutal" blow, but vowed to fight on.
"It would have been an interesting competition between him and the others that we're going to have to wait another year for. But this team is 100 per cent behind Richie Porte," Ochowicz said.
"We all love the sport of cycling, that's why we're here. But this sport can be brutal from time to time and it was brutal yesterday for Richie and our team.
"We can still be competitive in this bike race in a different way. Our goal was to be on the podium with Richie in Paris and that's not going to happen, but there's a lot of other things we can do in this race."
Ochowicz wouldn't speculate on when Porte would race again, saying "there's no plans for him right now". He also refused to refused to criticise the course and the descent of the Mont du Chat.
"Crashes happen every single day for different reasons," he said.
"People were afraid of that stage, so a lot of riders were nervous and a lot of accidents happened.
"It was a strange day. It was crazy."