After joining BMC Racing to become the team's leader for the Tour de France, Richie Porte has surfed the highs and lows of a Grand Tour contender. Having missed out on last year's podium in Paris in large part due to a late mechanical on stage 2 that cost him nearly two minutes, his fifth place overall confirmed him as a genuine contender at the Tour de France. The Australian will look to this week's Critérium du Dauphiné for a confidence-inspiring performance in his build-up to the Tour.
Last year, Porte finished two seconds off the podium in the Dauphine and went into the Tour de France without a major victory for the year. This season, Porte has won the Tour Down Under and the Tour de Romandie and has taken heart from those results, even if his Paris-Nice went pear-shaped in the crosswinds on stage 2.
"The Critérium du Dauphiné is the last big test before the Tour de France so it is a chance to see where I stand compared to everyone else," Porte said in a team press release. "I'm taking a lot of confidence out of my Tour de Romandie win and a good result at the Critérium du Dauphiné would set me up perfectly for July."
Like many of his Tour de France rivals, Porte has spent half of May training at altitude, and said he is "as prepared as possible".
"I'm feeling really good right now and although the Tour de France is obviously the main goal this year, I would love to add the Critérium du Dauphiné to my palmarès. We have a strong team to support me and we'll take things stage by stage."
BMC's directeur sportif Fabio Baldato has chosen a veteran team to back Porte in the Dauphiné to give him the best chance at getting that confidence-inspiring result.
"When you look at our roster, with the exception of neo-pro Kilian Frankiny, we have a wealth of experience behind Richie," Baldato said. With Brent Bookwalter, Kilian Frankiny and Amaël Moinard we have strong riders to protect Richie on the flat, whereas Alessandro De Marchi, Ben Hermans, Nicolas Roche and Danilo Wyss will provide key support on the climbs.
"I think with this team, and a strong and motivated Richie, we are going to the Critérium du Dauphiné in a really good position."
BMC Racing Team for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Brent Bookwalter, Alessandro De Marchi, Kilian Frankiny, Ben Hermans, Amaël Moinard, Richie Porte, Nicolas Roche, and Danilo Wyss.