Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen are travelling with their BMC Racing team to compete in the Tour du Finistère on Saturday, April 14. The final kilometres of the course will also be used during stage 5 of the Tour de France and previewing it at race pace offers the riders valuable information ahead of July.
"The final 35km of the Tour du Finistère are the same as stage 5 of the Tour and this is an important reason why we are heading there," said the team's director Fabio Baldato.
"It won't be the priority to have Richie Porte going in as the leader, instead with Tejay van Garderen also racing it will be a good chance for both riders to race the final of stage 5."
Porte started his season at the Australian National Championships and the Santos Tour Down Under, where he won the stage up Willunga Hill. Once in Europe, he raced Volta ao Algarve but was then sidelined from competing at Tirreno-Adriatico in mid-March due to illness.
He returned to racing last week at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, using the six-day race to 'test his form' but didn't finish stage 6. Porte will use the Tour du Finistère and then the Tour de Romandie as part of his build-up to the Tour de France.
"Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco was my first race in a while and it was an opportunity to get some good training in and put some solid racing kilometers in my legs," Porte said.
"Tour du Finistère will be another chance to get back into the swing of things ahead of the Tour de Romandie but it also gives us the opportunity to recon the finale of stage 5 of this year's Tour de France.
"There are not many opportunities when you get to do that in a race environment so I think it will be helpful and a good building block as we look ahead to July."
Tour du Finistère is a one-day UCI 1.1 race that starts in Saint-Évarzec and finishes with circuits in Quimper. In July, riders will start the stage in Lorient and travel 203km to Quimper. Organisers of the Tour de France classify this stage as hilly as it includes climbs over Côte de Trimen, Côte de la Roche de Feu and the double-headed Côte de Menez Quelerc'h.
Then there are punches over Côte de la montagne de Locronan, Notre-Dame de Lorette and Kerlividic before finishing in Quimper, all used in the final of Tour du Finistère.
"From what we can see on the plan, there are small roads with a steep, narrow climb where positioning is important and it is best for this kind of race to have the opportunity to see it in advance and it's even better to recon it in a race environment. I think it will be a great advantage ahead of July," Baldato said.
The BMC team headed to Tour du Finistère will also include Tom Bohli, Kilian Frankiny, Joey Rosskopf and Danilo Wyss.
"For the others, I think they can all try to take the opportunity to go for their own result," Baldato said. "With Tom Bohli, Joey Rosskopf and Danilo Wyss, we have a few different cards to play and I hope they are motivated not just to race next to the leaders but also to race for a result and try to do something."