Richie Porte will spearhead BMC Racing in their final Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España. Porte crashed out of the Tour de France on stage 9 and has not raced since. He will head into the Vuelta looking to perform well given that, although he will have one eye on the World Championships later this year, it represents an important race both for him and his team.
"Of course, I would like to do well in my last Grand Tour for BMC Racing Team but you never know where your form is when you haven't had an ideal run into a race," Porte said in statement issued by his team.
"After crashing out of the Tour de France, I had to have some time off and it took me a while to get back to work due to my injuries. I have put in some good training since then but I won't be lining up in the shape I was in before the Tour de France.
"At first, I think I will definitely be taking the race day-by-day. The last week is pretty hard so you don't know what could happen there but we have a great team lining up with lots of good options. There's definitely also a carrot dangling in front of me at the Vuelta with the UCI World Championships being a climber's course so it will be good preparation for that."
There is no spot on the team for Tejay van Garderen, who announced last week that he was joining 'America's team' EF Education First-Drapac. However, BMC Racing still head into the Vuelta with a highly competitive squad.
Rohan Dennis will his return to Grand Tour Racing for the first time since the Giro d'Italia in May and will also be using the race as part of his build up towards the World Championships.
"The prologue and the stage 16 time trial are definitely my main objectives at this year's Vuelta a España," Dennis said. "The rest of the race for me will be about seeing what Richie wants to do when it comes to the general classification or helping any of the other guys, if they want to try and go for a stage.
"After that, the race will be a key part of my preparation for the UCI World Championships. We are trying to mimic the lead-up to Worlds from last year. Obviously, I didn't get to the stage 16 time trial at last year's Vuelta but for me the time trial in Bergen was going really well right up until I hit a corner a bit too fast. We also saw this race program work in 2014 and again in 2016 when I raced the Tour de France before Rio so, it's the perfect preparation for me."
Porte is set to be announced as a Trek Segafredo rider later this week, while Dennis is moving to Bahrain-Merida on a two-year deal. One rider who will be staying with the team as they become a new formation of the CCC squad is Alessandro De Marchi. The Italian is also part of the Vuelta team and will be targeting stage wins. The 32-year-old won stage a stage 2014, and another a year later.
"The Vuelta a España always represents a special moment of the season for me," he said.
"This year is going to be my fourth edition of the race and normally I would race here after the Tour de France but this year I come into the Vuelta after having raced the Giro d'Italia and obviously, having had a small break in the middle of the season. This small change means I will have a different approach to the race. I think at first I will try to get back into race mode and wait for the opportunities that the Vuelta always offers riders like me. It's about having patience and waiting for the right day. I will also try to focus on the two individual time trials as I am continuing to try and improve on these kind of efforts. The Vuelta is also a good way to prepare for the UCI World Championships so it's important to be good especially at the end of the three weeks."
The rest of the Vuelta team comprises Nicolas Roche, Francisco Ventoso, Dylan Teuns, Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf.
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