The BMC Racing team has confirmed that Richie Porte will ride the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, backed by the same teammates that helped him win the opening WorldTour race of the 2017 season. It will be Porte's final race in Australia before he returns to Europe and then targets Paris-Nice in early March.
Porte's teammates will all ride the new Towards Zero Race Melbourne criterium on Thursday on the Albert Park Formula 1 motor racing circuit. However Porte will not take any risks and only compete on Sunday in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, which is part of the WorldTour calendar for the first time.
Porte dominated the Tour Down Under, winning the two key hilly stages to beat Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) by 48 seconds. He appeared to be leaner than ever as he lays the foundations for a shot at overall success at the Tour de France in July. Porte has already been designated as the BMC Racing team leader for the Tour de France, with Tejay van Garderen set to target the Giro d'Italia.
Porte will clash with former teammate Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, who makes his season debut in the one-day WorldTour race. Other contenders include Nathan Haas (Dimension Data), who impressed at the Tour Down Under and Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott).
"I raced the first edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and I'm looking forward to getting back there," Porte said in a press release from the BMC Racing team.
"My form is good and we will see what happens on the day. One-day races can be so unpredictable and it's by no means an easy race. I'm looking forward to racing in Australia one last time this season."
Porte will be supported by Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Amael Moinard, Miles Scotson, Danilo Wyss and Francisco Ventoso.
"We are going to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race with a lot of motivation," BMC Racing directeur sportif Fabio Baldato said.
"We know that Richie is in good shape and the rest of the team is too. I think all of the other teams will be watching us given our results at the Santos Tour Down Under. We'll rest up this week and we plan to give it everything on Sunday."