BMC Racing are keeping their options open at the Tour of Britain, with Silvan Dillier, Stefan Kung and Ben Hermans all potential cards for the overall classification. Brent Bookwalter, Floris Gerts and recently renewed Joey Rosskopf complete the six-man line-up. There is no spot for Richie Porte, who continues his rehabilitation from injury after crashing out of the Tour de France in July.
With just six riders per team, sports director Valerio Piva says that the team will take an opportunistic approach to the race and pick up on chances as and when they arrive. The 16-kilometre time trial in Clacton on stage 5 will also be a key factor, according to Piva.
"With a team of six riders, it's hard to control the race and go in with a particular leader so, instead, we will take the race day by day and give everyone the chance to take opportunities as they arise,” he said. “Our first objective will be to try and jump in the right moves and go for stage wins, and I think riders like Silvan Dillier and Stefan Küng will be able to perform well over this type of parcours. They are in top shape, and so we will keep them protected.
“We also have Ben Hermans returning to racing in Britain. He has been working hard to recover so we will see how he goes after his crash. As a whole, we have a good group of time triallists for this race, and we will see how we arrive at that point. It's a 16km time trial, and you can definitely make a difference overall there.”
The Tour of Britain will be Hermans' first race since crashing out of the Tour of Poland at the end of July. The Belgian suffered several fractures as a result of the crash, in his right wrist, toe, and sternum. He also broke three teeth and suffered facial contusions. He was able to return to training at the end of last month after close to three weeks on the sidelines.
"I am really happy to be racing again. It was a hard crash in Poland, and I suffered multiple fractures but thankfully all the fractures healed together and as fast as if there was only one,” explained Hermans. “There is a lot of mental strength needed during the first three weeks after a crash like that but once I could hit the road again after 20 days, it all fell into place, and my recovery went pretty well. I have worked hard to come back strong enough to try to get some good results in the last few weeks of the season.
“During training I have been feeling good, and we will see how it goes at the race, but I expect to be at a good level for the rest of the season. The Tour of Britain is also a new for race me. I have never raced here before, so I am looking forward to getting started.”
The Tour of Britain starts this Sunday in Edinburgh and finishes the following Sunday in Cardiff.