Strong Team to Support Porte in Pursuit of Tour de France Podium27. June 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA) — Road Team
Richie Porte will be backed by a strong and experienced team at the Tour de France where the Australian is targeting his first podium result following a career-best fifth place in 2016.
Porte, who took confidence from his overall victory at the Tour de Suisse in his debut at the race, will be supported in the mountains by the likes of Tejay van Garderen, twice fifth overall in 2012 and 2014, and 2017 Tour de Suisse runner up Damiano Caruso who narrowly missed the top ten at the 2017 Tour de France.
For the flat and medium mountain stages, Tour de France stage winners and former yellow jersey wearers Greg Van Avermaet and Simon Gerrans will provide invaluable experience, as will the Swiss duo of Michael Schär and Stefan Küng, and Patrick Bevin, who alongside Gerrans will make his Grand Tour debut with BMC Racing Team.
Sports Director Fabio Baldato said the versatile team will give Porte support on all terrain, particularly the first nine days of racing when the team time trial, possible crosswinds, and cobbled stage can play just as much of a role in the General Classification as the high mountains.
“We are confident in our team. The Tour de France team selection is never easy but I think we have chosen seven strong and motivated riders to support Richie Porte. We saw at the Tour de Suisse what Richie and five riders from the team were able to do by working every day to defend the jersey. Damiano Caruso, who was really strong at the Criterium du Dauphine, and Paddy Bevin, who will be very important for the team time trial, complete the team so I think we have chosen eight well-rounded riders for the three weeks of racing,” Baldato explained.
“All of the riders have been preparing well at training camps since their last races and we have seen many of the crucial stages in the lead up to the race. The condition of all eight riders is really good and they are all motivated, so we are as ready as we can be.”
Porte is confident in his form, which he has been building on since his Tour de Suisse victory.
“I’m ready for the Tour de France. Winning the Tour de Suisse was a big boost to my confidence, not only on a personal level knowing I wasn’t yet in my best shape but also for the team. The guys were fantastic there and the fact that our Tour de France team is comprised more or less of the same riders, with the addition of Damiano Caruso and Paddy Bevin, is really motivating. After a solid training camp at altitude, I will arrive in the Vendée region knowing I have done everything I can to prepare for the Tour de France,” Porte said.
“I would love to stand on the podium in Paris. As we saw last year, anything can happen so as cliché as it sounds, I really will be taking things day by day, week by week. As controlled as the Tour de France is compared to other races, it’s a bike race and with that comes a lot of unpredictability. I think we have a great team, it’s generally a good course for me, and I’m excited to start racing.”
Van Avermaet, who claimed stage wins in 2015 and 2016, has his eye on multiple stages suited to his strengths.
“I am motivated, as always, to do my best at the Tour de France and my personal ambition is to win another stage, as well as working for the team and achieving the team objective of putting Richie on the podium. We always want to do well in a team time trial so stage 3 will definitely be a big goal for us, and of course it will be special to ride the cobbles on stage 9. The Tour de France is unlike any other race and I think we have a great team, so I am looking forward to getting started next week.”
General Manager Jim Ochowicz paid tribute to the late BMC Racing Team owner, Andy Rihs, whose memory will serve as extra motivation at the Tour de France.
"This is a group effort with a clear focus. My confidence in our staff and riders has never been at such an elevated level since 2011. We will be racing this Tour de France in the memory of Andy Rihs to thank him for his 12 years of faith and support,” Ochowicz added.
Tour de France (7-29 July)
Rider roster: Patrick Bevin (NZ), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Richie Porte (AUS), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA), Allan Peiper (AUS).