Recovered from a crash that prematurely ended his second-consecutive Tour de France, Launceston’s Richie Porte will spearhead BMC Racing Team’s Vuelta a España campaign.
The 33-year-old, who has been heavily linked to a lucrative two-year deal with American team Trek-Segafredo from next year, has not raced since fracturing his right collarbone during stage 9 en route to Roubaix.
Porte will be joined on the start line on Saturday for the third and final Grand Tour of the year by Rohan Dennis, Alessandro De Marchi, Brent Bookwalter, Nicolas Roche, Joey Rosskopf, Dylan Teuns and Francisco Ventoso.
“Of course, I would like to do well in my last Grand Tour for BMC Racing Team but you never know where your form is when you haven't had an ideal run into a race,” Porte said ahead of just the second Veulta of his career.
“After crashing out of the Tour de France, I had to have some time off and it took me a while to get back to work due to my injuries.
“I have put in some good training since then but I won't be lining up in the shape I was in before the Tour de France.
“At first, I think I will definitely be taking the race day-by-day.”
Our #LaVuelta18 roster is in!— BMC Racing Team (@BMCProTeam) August 20, 2018
Meet the eight riders 👇 and read more 👉 https://t.co/sJORoT4IEh
Lining up at the three-week Vuelta, which ends on September 16, was a goal of Porte’s since crashing out of Le Tour.
“The last week is pretty hard so you don’t know what could happen there but, we have a great team lining up with lots of good options,” Porte said.
“There’s definitely also a carrot dangling in front of me at the Vuelta with the UCI World Championships being a climber’s course so it will be good preparation for that.”
BMC sports director Jackson Stewart said Porte would be supported by a well-rounded roster during the 21-stage tour scheduled to start in Málaga and finish in Madrid.
“For Porte, this is his first race back after his crash so at first, we will need to see how he is feeling,” Stewart said.
“But, I believe he will only grow stronger the further into the race we get so, initially we will try to focus on several stages in particular and from there, we will watch how the general classification develops.”
“We know that Rohan Dennis is very motivated for both time trials and that he has the ability to achieve success on those particular stages if not more throughout the race.
“With Alessandro De Marchi, Nicolas Roche and Francisco Ventoso on the team, we have three riders who have all won individual stages of the Vuelta a España and not only do they bring this experience with them but they also have the strength to try something this year if the opportunity presents itself.”
- WHAT: 73rd Vuelta a España.
- WHEN: August 25 to September 16.
- Where: 21 stages and 3271.4 kilometres from Málaga to Madrid, Spain.
- Stage 1: Eight-kilometre time trial.
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