BMC Racing Team is backing Richie Porte in the pursuit of the yellow jersey at the Tour de France when racing gets underway in Dusseldorf on Saturday, July 1.
Sports Director Fabio Baldato said a strong team has been assembled to support Porte from Dusseldorf through to Paris.
“To have Richie Porte on the podium at the Tour de France would be a great result. Of course, we are lining up to win the race, to win the yellow jersey. We are going all in for Richie. All nine of our riders are coming to the Tour de France in good condition and we have a strong team. When we started planning for the Tour de France in December last year, these were the nine riders we had in mind,” Baldato explained.
“We expect Damiano Caruso and Nicolas Roche to be the last two teammates with Richie in the big mountains. We have riders like Alessandro De Marchi and Amaël Moinard who will be crucial before and between the medium mountains. For the flat stages when the race is fast and difficult, we have our rouleurs; Stefan Küng, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet and Danilo Wyss. These are the riders who will protect Richie and bring him to the line safely.”
“We would love to start things well with the time trial in Dusseldorf. Stefan is really motivated and we saw at Tour de Suisse that he is in great shape. It is his Tour de France debut but we expect he will be on the podium, which means starting the race well, with a good position on the General Classification and with a good car position. Our absolute priority is the General Classification with Richie Porte but in Greg Van Avermaet we have the Olympic champion, two-time Tour de France stage winner and wearer of the yellow jersey in 2016, so we would love to see Greg win another stage when the conditions are right and Richie is safe.”
BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz affirmed Baldato’s appraisal of the team.
“Tour de France team selection is always hard and it was again for us this year. We have a strong and motivated team around Richie Porte and I think our objectives are clear. Richie and the rest of the team are clearly coming in with a lot of confidence from performances in recent races. We are confident but everyone starts from scratch in Dusseldorf. We hope to get off to a good start and keep the ball rolling across the 21 stages that lie ahead of us,” Ochowicz said.
Porte is confident after recording one of the best seasons of his career in the lead up to the Tour de France, including victory at the Santos Tour Down Under, Tour de Romandie and second place at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
“The Tour de France is the big goal of the season and it has been a great season so far. I can definitely take confidence from my races and I feel like I’m where I need to be knowing that July is when I need to perform. BMC Racing Team has put a great team together around Greg Van Avermaet and me. I think we have strength in all of the areas needed,” Porte explained.
“I am definitely a mix of excited and nervous. You can’t deny that the Tour de France is the biggest goal of the season, but that means it’s also another level of stress. It’s a balance of being well-prepared and fresh enough to race at the highest level across 21 stages, but I feel like I’m in that position now. I’m just really looking forward to rolling out for the time trial next Saturday in Dusseldorf and then having a good three weeks of racing until we reach Paris.”
Van Avermaet will line up in Dusseldorf as leader of the UCI WorldTour ranking and targeting a third Tour de France stage win.
“I’m going into the Tour de France with the same goal as always; to win a stage. After winning a stage in 2015 and 2016, and then wearing the yellow jersey last year, it would be really special to win a third stage this year. There are a couple of stages that are well-suited to me and aside from that, I’ll be there to support Richie Porte to go for the win. I think if we finished in Paris with a stage win and a good result on the General Classification, it would be a really successful Tour de France from BMC Racing Team,” Van Avermaet said.
Rider Roster: Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Stefan Küng (SUI), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Richie Porte (AUS), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).