Richie Porte set to ride Herald Sun Tour

Australian aims to be competitive at home race in January

Richie Porte will be aiming to win the Jayco Herald Sun Tour when he lines up at the Australian stage race for his new Trek-Segafredo team at the end of January next year.

The 33-year-old, who'll leave BMC Racing at the end of this year after three seasons with the team, has ridden the event three times before. He rode in 2008, 2009, and for the last time in 2011, when he was forced to pull out on the opening stage while still recovering from having had surgery on a deviated septum the week before.

This time, though, Porte will head to the start on Phillip Island, just south of Melbourne, on January 30 with every intention of taking overall victory.

"If I'm there, I'm there to win it," Porte told the Herald Sun on Thursday.

"I've wanted to do it for years, but it just never really fit, or I was riding for teams that weren't going to do it," he said of his absence from the race while riding for the likes of Team Sky and BMC in the interim. "But next year with Trek-Segafredo, it just worked."

It's still uncertain whether Porte will ride the Tour Down Under earlier in the month – a race that he won overall in 2017, and where he's made the famous Old Willunga Hill stage his own, winning it for the past five years in a row.

He's said that he may miss the WorldTour event in 2019 in order to start his season a little later, on advice from his coach, in which case the Herald Sun Tour could be his first stage race for Trek-Segafredo, as he's likely to still race at the national championships in Ballarat, Victoria, in early January.

Providing he rides the Sun Tour, Porte would be among the favourites for the tough fourth stage of the race, which sees the peloton tackle the iconic climb of Arthurs Seat, on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, five times.

Former Sky teammate Chris Froome was the winner on the climb – and also won the overall title – when it last featured in the race in 2016.

"I've done it before, but never in a race. I know it's a pretty brutal little climb, and five times up it is never going to be, easy is it?" said Porte.

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