Richie Porte will lead the BMC team at the Tour of Oman next week as he resumes his season following a short break. The Middle Eastern race will be the first for Porte since finishing second in the Tour Down Under almost three weeks ago.
It is Porte’s first appearance at the Tour of Oman since 2013, where he helped then teammate Chris Froome to the overall victory. In recent years, it has been Tejay Van Garden that has taken the role of leadership in Oman. However, the American has decided to start his season in Europe at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia this weekend.
Porte has had a strong start to the season with second at the time trial national championships and the Tour Down Under, plus a stage victory on Willunga Hill for the third year running. For Porte, Oman will provide a bridge between his Australian season and Paris-Nice his first race in Europe, at the beginning of March.
"We've got a really solid team for the race so it will be nice to finally race together in the BMC Racing Team kit. It's also good opportunity to get a couple more race days in the legs before I start racing in Europe," Porte said in a team press release.
The remainder of the seven-man team will be made up of those that have already been racing in Qatar. The 22-year-old Tom Bohli, who was forced to abandon the Tour of Qatar following a crash, is the only rider not to head to Oman. The riders that will make the trip are Jempy Drucker, Michael Schär, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Joey Rosskopf and Rick Zabel. It is the first time that Porte has raced with any of this line-up after making the switch to BMC over the winter.
Van Avermaet will be a strong contender for a stage victory in Oman, coming to the race after a strong performance in Qatar where he finished third overall. Oman has formed part of the Belgian’s build-up to the classics since 2013, making this his fourth consecutive appearance.
BMC Racing team for the Tour of Oman: Jempy Drucker, Michael Schär, Daniel Oss, Richie Porte, Manuel Quinziato, Joey Rosskopf, Greg Van Avermaet, Rick Zabel.