Cyclingnews has learned that Richie Porte has agreed terms with Trek-Segafredo with a two-year deal set to start in 2019. In June, Cyclingnews reported that the Tour de France contender was edging closer to the American team after initial negotiations. The agreement was finally reached in the last week, although under UCI official rules all riders must wait until August 1 before signing with new teams.
Porte's departure from BMC Racing Team is down to a number of factors, not least security, one source close to the negotiations told Cyclingnews. The Australian has enjoyed a successful few years at BMC Racing but their unsettled future and lack of a sponsor for 2019 paved the way for other teams to approach.
Trek-Segafredo are a good fit for the 33-year-old. Although they have a number of promising young riders, and the dependable and steady Bauke Mollema within their ranks, they failed to replace Alberto Contador at the end of 2017. The Spaniard only confirmed his retirement from the sport after last year's Tour de France, leaving the Trek-Segafredo management with little time to find a replacement. At that point, the likes of Fabio Aru and Dan Martin had already agreed terms with other teams. The budget to cover a Grand Tour rider for 2018 was subsequently folded in 2019, meaning that Trek have the funds to make a number of exciting signings.
Porte will walk into a strong team that should include Mollema – with negotiations moving in the right direction and the Dutchman likely to stay. Porte will have the chance to lead Trek at the Tour in 2019 but also focus on his speciality of week-long races.
The Australian had a number of options on the table, with Aqua Blue also showing interest. However, he has chosen Trek, who according to sources are excited to link up with a rider who has been on their radar for a number of years. The American team would not comment when approached by Cyclingnews, eager for Porte to have tranquillity and no distractions during July. Trek had made offers to Simon Yates earlier in the year, but he is now expected to re-sign with Mitchelton-Scott.
Last month Luca Guercilena, Trek-Segafredo's general manager told Cyclingnews that, “We’re talking to see if we can make something good together, but nothing is defined."
Porte is currently racing the Tour and remains BMC Racing's GC hope despite losing time on stage 1. He was caught behind a crash and lost 51 seconds to several of his rivals but with the TTT on Monday he is expected to regain that time.
Porte is not the only rider who has found a team away from BMC Racing for 2019. Dylan Teuns is likely to join Damiano Caruso - already confirmed - and move to Bahrain-Merida, while Rohan Dennis heads there too.
Giulio Ciccone and Ivan Ramiro Sosa are also expected to join Trek for next year.