Richie Porte has not raced since crashing out of the Olympic Games road race with a fractured scapula, but the BMC rider is fit and ready to lead his team to a top result in the Tour Down Under this month.
The runner-up in the last two editions of the Tour Down Under, Porte has his eye on the Willunga Hill stage, where he has tasted success many times in his career.
"I've won on Willunga Hill on three occasions, so why not go for the fourth? The atmosphere on Willunga Hill is as good as any race in Europe, so I'm excited to get back there and test my legs," Porte said in a press release.
Porte has a big season ahead of him, having been named as BMC Racing's leader for the Tour de France, and hopes to get it started with strong results.
"I love racing in Adelaide and having already been on the podium twice, I'd like to start the year with a good result at the Santos Tour Down Under and hopefully go one better. I've had a particularly long off-season since Rio so I'm ready to get back to racing. I have a strong team by my side and as an Australian it's great to have all of the support from fans," Porte said.
BMC directeur sportif Fabio Baldato has confidence in Porte, and has built what he called a "solid team" around him.
"Richie is in good shape for this time of the year and is motivated," Baldato said. The team includes Australians Rohan Dennis and Miles Scotson as well as new recruit Francisco Ventoso.
"Damiano Caruso, Amaël Moinard, Danilo Wyss and Francisco Ventoso complete the very experienced team and will provide key support for Richie in the crucial stages on the race. I think we have a great team and I'm confident that we can start the 2017 season well at the Santos Tour Down Under."
BMC for the Tour Down Under: Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Amaël Moinard, Richie Porte, Miles Scotson, Danilo Wyss, Francisco Ventoso.