BMC Racing Team Target Santos Tour Down Under Defence11. December 2017, Denia (ESP) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team is set to animate January’s Santos Tour Down Under with the winners of the past four editions, Richie Porte, Simon Gerrans and Rohan Dennis, set to line up at the first UCI WorldTour race of the season, General Manager Jim Ochowicz today announced at BMC Racing Team’s pre-season media day.
2017 Australian National Road Race champion Miles Scotson, BMC Racing Team’s first New Zealander, Patrick Bevin and the Swiss duo of Tom Bohli and Danilo Wyss complete the seven-rider roster.
“The Santos Tour Down Under is one of our key races of the season and we’re excited to go there with the formidable team that we have. I don’t think we have ever started with such an impressive line up and with Richie Porte as our captain, and former champions Rohan Dennis and Simon Gerrans at his side, both of whom are obviously capable of winning the race themselves, we are in for a great start to the season,” Ochowicz said.
After winning his first title in 2017, defending champion Porte is looking forward to returning to the race where he has earned the title of ‘King of Willunga Hill’ having claimed the iconic stage win for the last four consecutive years.
“I’m excited to go back to the Santos Tour Down Under in 2018 and try to defend the ochre jersey. After mostly missing the last part of the 2017 season, it will be good to get 2018 underway, especially at the Santos Tour Down Under which is one of my favorite races of the calendar,” Porte explained.
Sports Director Fabio Baldato expects strong competition with the first UCI WorldTour points of the season on offer.
“Richie Porte is the defending champion and we know what he can do so we are ready to support him in his bid to win again. But, with Rohan Dennis and Simon Gerrans, who are both past winners, we have a lot of options to choose from,” Baldato added.
Dennis, who claimed the ochre jersey in 2015 with BMC Racing Team, is looking forward to racing on home soil at the start of the season.
“I do enjoy going back to Adelaide, my hometown, for the Santos Tour Down Under. I get to see my family and they get to see me race, but that always adds pressure. It's definitely a full-on week for me as I don't go back often but we know how to manage it. The racing itself is really exciting. It's short, it's fast, and there aren't any 200km transfer stages. It's a great race, and the crowds treat us as if we're at a big European UCI WorldTour race,” Dennis said.
Gerrans returns to the Santos Tour Down Under as the winner of a record four editions at what will be the 20th anniversary of the race.
"I'm really excited about the Santos Tour Down Under this year especially because it is my first race with BMC Racing Team. We're going to have a really formidable line-up, and I think there will be a lot of attention on us. I have always made a point of trying to start my seasons in good shape, and for my entire career this race has always been on the calendar, so it has worked out really nicely for me that I have been able to target a race on Australian soil at the beginning of the season,” Gerrans said ahead of his first UCI WorldTour race in the BMC Racing Team kit.
Porte, Gerrans and Dennis have won a combined six General Classification titles and 11 stages since 2006.