Aussie duo set to kick off BMC Racing Team's 2016 season5. January 2016, Santa Rosa (USA) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team’s Australian duo, Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte, will kick off the team’s season at the Australian National Road Championships in Victoria, this week.
Porte, who is the defending Individual Time Trial champion, will make his debut for BMC Racing Team, alongside 2015 runner up Dennis, in the 40.9 kilometre time trial on Thursday, 7 January.
The duo will then pair up for the 183.6 kilometre road race on Sunday, where the peloton will complete 18 laps of a 10.3 kilometre circuit through Buninyong.
BMC Racing Team Coach Marco Pinotti said Dennis and Porte are going into the technical time trial in a good position.
“We are entering the time trial with the top two placed riders from last year, so the expectation is to do well. The time trial length plays in favor of both riders given their experience and ability to pace themselves. It has quite a hilly part where an on-form rider has time to use all of his cylinders. It’s also an out and back course, the first time trial of the year and just under 1 hour, so pacing well will be crucial, even more so than usual.”
Racing for the green and gold
Porte said his expectations are realistic for the Individual Time Trial.
“My form is not what it was last year when I was in top form so I’m coming in quite relaxed which I think is a good thing and of course I’d love to have the jersey for another year. I’m on a new bike and I’m really happy with it so I’m looking forward to starting the season in Ballarat. We’ll have to see how the legs are on the day.”
Dennis is confident heading into the Championships.
“I’d like to walk away with a green and gold jersey in either the road race or the time trial, preferably the time trial as once again it’s a goal of mine this year. Both courses play to my strengths, although I’d like to see a change in the road race course next year.”
Race tactics will be crucial for Dennis and Porte in the road race according to Pinotti.
“In the road race, tactics, race situations and sometimes luck, can have a bigger impact on the outcome rather than form and fitness. Starting with only two riders, we will need to be tactically smart and follow the moves in the right moment.”
“The road race is a lottery really, it’s a tactical race and it’s not always easy to make the break, so we’ll see what happens with Rohan and myself,” Porte confirmed.