Porte and van Garderen Headline Volta ao Algarve Roster11. February 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA) — Road Team
Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen will make their race debut in Europe this season at the five-stage Volta ao Algarve starting on Wednesday, 14 February.
Sports Director Fabio Baldato said the demanding course will be a good test of form as the race delivers summit finishes, flat sprint stages, and an individual time trial.
“It will be nice to return to Volta ao Algarve for the first time since 2012 as it is a good race to gauge the riders’ form this early in the season. We have a strong team lining up including Richie Porte, who is a former winner, and Tejay van Garderen, who will make his season debut. This will be Richie’s first race back after the Australian season and Tejay is coming in from a solid block at altitude. Both riders will be lining up motivated but given their big goals in the spring are Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, this is the perfect race to use as preparation and to test their condition,” Baldato said.
“It is a really demanding race with two summit finishes and a fast, rolling time trial. While Richie and Tejay will want to produce a good time trial, we also have Stefan Küng who showed he is great shape at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana last week. I think we will already have a good idea of how the race is developing after stage 2 with the summit finish in Fóia and from there we will take things day by day.”
Porte claimed the overall win in 2012 and last lined up at Volta ao Algarve in 2015.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to racing and lining up with the team in Portugal. It's still really early in the season and as this is my first race in Europe this year, I'm not going in with any huge expectations. My main goal is to get some good race days in my legs and having come from a very hot Australian summer, adjust to racing in the cooler weather again. We have a strong team and different cards to play on the various stages," Porte explained.
Van Garderen has finished in the top ten on three occasions, including second overall in 2011.
“This winter has been really great preparation wise. I feel like all the boxes have been ticked, and I’m super motivated to start the season strong. Richie will be the leader going into the race, but if we are on good form it’ll be a lot of fun playing off one another. I’ve raced this race five times in the past, finishing on the podium once in 2011, so I know what to expect,” van Garderen said.
Volta ao Algarve (14-18 February)
Rider Roster: Simon Gerrans (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Richie Porte (AUS), Jürgen Roelandts (BEL), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA)