Transfer mechanics: Richie Porte edges closer to Trek-Segafredo contract

Australian set to leave BMC after one final Tour de France bid

Cyclingnews has learned from several sources that Richie Porte's next team is set to be Trek-Segafredo with the Australian moving at the end of this season. Porte and his representatives have held talks with several teams over the last few months as speculation mounted as to the long-term future of BMC Racing. Contracts cannot be officially signed until the UCI'S August 1 deadline but we have learned that Porte and Trek-Segafredo have an agreement in principle.

Porte, who heads into the Tour de France as one of the contenders for overall victory, has been part of the BMC Racing set up for three seasons and has solidified his position as one of the best week-long stage racers of his generation. He recently won the Tour de Suisse, and has a strong BMC Racing squad to back him at the Tour de France in July. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his Tour preparations despite speculation over his future; he and his teammates were in a determined mood during their last outing at Tour de Suisse.

The 33-year-old had an optional contract in place with BMC Racing for 2019 should they find title sponsor but with the team looking increasingly uncertain to at least maintain their 2018 budget level, Porte is free to talk to other interested teams. UAE Team Emirates, Team Sky, and Katusha-Alpecin were all interested but Trek-Segafredo have won the fight for the Australian's signature.

Trek-Segafredo have been looking for a long-term GC leader for some time. Alberto Contador retired a year earlier than initially planned at the end of 2017 and with the money they saved, the team were determined to land another high-profile stage racing star for 2019 and beyond.

"We're talking to see if we can make something good together, but nothing is defined," Luca Guercilena, Trek-Segafredo's general manager told Cyclingnews.

"We'd love to have him on our team in the future, and we can make good things together in the future. We are talking about having him, yes."

Simon Yates was approached by Trek-Segafredo earlier in the season but was priced too high. He and his brother Adam are now set to stay at Mitchelton-Scott with the Australian team increasing their budget while allowing Caleb Ewan to leave for Lotto Soudal. Team Sky's Geraint Thomas - who shares the same agent at Porte - had also been on Trek-Segafredo's radar for some time but the US-registered WorldTour team lost interest during the spring, and the Welshman is also set to remain at Team Sky.

Porte ticks a number of boxes for Trek-Segafredo and comes to the team with a wealth of experience. Although he is 33, he still has at least two years at the highest level. He can also dominate week-long stage races and he will not face much competition from Trek-Segafredo's other stage racing candidates. The team also have a strong base, with Classics riders able to support Porte on the flat, and several climbers to help in the mountains.

Porte was not available for comment.

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