The BMC Racing team has confirmed that Rohan Dennis will lead their eight-rider squad at the Giro d’Italia and target the opening 9.7km time trial stage in Israel on Friday and so the first maglia rosa of the 2018 race.
Nicolas Roche will also race with the overall classification in mind, while Jürgen Roelandts, Jempy Drucker and Alessandro De Marchi hope to target stage victories.
Completing the BMC Racing line-up are Francisco Ventoso and talented young riders Loïc Vliegen and Kilian Frankiny.
Dennis finished seventh overall at the Tour de Romandie as he fine-tuned his form and rode alongside Richie Porte, who finished third overall behind Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo).
"Our first goal comes on day one with the time trial. It's a technical course, lots of turns, and a good time trial profile for Rohan Dennis. We want to start the Giro d'Italia with a good result there and then move on to our other objectives," directeur sportif Max Sciandri said when BMC confirmed its line-up.
"In terms of the general classification, Rohan is motivated to see how far he can go and we plan to take things week by week. There are quite a few uphill finishes in the first 10 days so we will know more by then and, of course, the time trial from Trento is also a good one for him. Nicolas Roche also has general classification ambitions and is looking to see where he can end up. After the Mount Etna stage in the first week, we will see how Nicolas is going."
BMC won two stages in the 2017 Giro d’Italia with Silvan Dillier and Tejay van Garderen. Any success could help the US-registered WorldTour team finalise new sponsorship and so secure their long-term future.
Dennis will be the protected team leader but the other riders will have the freedom to go on the attack and in breakaways. Few opportunities for the pure sprinters in this Giro d’Italia means there should be more successful breakaways.
"Stage wins will be a big focus for us and we have riders suited to many different stages. In Jürgen Roelandts and Jempy Drucker, we have two fast sprinters who can do well in a reduced bunch sprint or from a breakaway. Alessandro De Marchi is a proven breakaway specialist and he is coming out of the Ardennes Classics in good shape, while Francisco Ventoso brings a wealth of experience and will be our road captain throughout the race," Sciandri explained.
"With Loïc Vliegen and Kilian Frankiny we have two young riders who have already raced the Vuelta a España last year. The Giro d'Italia will be a good chance for them to gain more experience and take any opportunities that come their way. Overall, we have a well-rounded team and I think we can make a lot of our objectives a reality."