Richie Porte back in action at Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Australian backs Caruso after six weeks out

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) will race for the first time since February's Volta ao Algarve next week when he supports his BMC teammates at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Porte was unable to ride Tirreno-Adriatico due to an upper respiratory infection. He has been training since making a recovery, but will use the Basque stage race to get back on form. Damiano Caruso, who finished second overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, will lead BMC at Pais Vasco. Also in the squad are Pat Bevin, Alessandro De Marchi, Simon Gerrans, Dylan Teuns and Danilo Wyss.

"I am not going in with any expectations or putting too much pressure on myself. For me, this race will be more about testing my form and getting back into the race rhythm than anything else," Porte said when BMC confirmed their line-up for the weeklong stage race.

BMC are hoping that Caruso can once again step-up as Porte recovers, with other riders targeting stage victories.

"This will be Richie's first race back and although he feels good, we don't want to give him the immediate responsibility of going for the GC. Of course, we know Richie and maybe he can do something during the week but we will take it day by day. Instead, Damiano Caruso will be our leader for the general classification," directeur sportif Valeria Piva said.

"Overall, we have a strong team with the majority of our riders going onto the Ardennes Classics. This will be a good opportunity for them and everyone will get the chance to try and go for a stage win.

"We want to see the riders try to take opportunities and jump in the breakaway or be there in the final. I think we have the right team to try to do that and then following on from there we will look to put Damiano in the right position to come out with a good GC."

Caruso will face several major rivals in the battle for the overall classification at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. These include Rigoberto Uran and Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac), Mikel Landa (Movistar), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).

The hilly six-day race starts with a rolling loop around Zarautz. The 19km stage 4 time trial around Lodosa will be vital, with the final stage ending atop the steep Usartza climb.

"This is one of the hardest stage races of the season, so it is going to be really difficult. However, I think my condition is good and after my result at Tirreno-Adriatico, I would like to keep this trend going and try to go for the GC," Caruso said.

"The philosophy will be the same as it was in Italy. I am going into the race without any stress and we will take it day by day and see what opportunities come up. Tirreno-Adriatico was confirmation of what I can do, so I'm feeling confident and I think I can do another good performance here."

BMC Racing Team roster: Patrick Bevin, Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Simon Gerrans, Richie Porte, Dylan Teuns and Danilo Wyss.

Related Articles

Back to top