Richie Porte will return to racing for the first time since crashing out of the Tour de France, joining his BMC Racing teammates for the Japan Cup from October 22-23. The race consists of a criterium on Saturday, October 22, and a road race on Sunday, October 23, both near Utsunomiya, north of Tokyo.
Porte was one of the favourites for overall victory at the Tour de France, but his hopes were wiped out in an instant as he crashed at speed on the treacherous descent of the Mont du Chat on stage 9.
He left the race in a neck brace and an ambulance and was later diagnosed with a broken collarbone and pelvis but admitted that he was lucky not to have been more seriously injured.
Porte has made a gradual recovery but was unable to train consistently until recently. Riding in Japan will allow him to race before starting his winter training.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race this year. Not only is it a chance for me to get another race day in the legs before the end of the season, but it’s also my first opportunity to race at the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race since 2013,” Porte said in a statement from the BMC team.
“The Japanese fans are really incredible so it’s always a great atmosphere at the race. I can definitely say it’s one of my favourite races. Given I haven’t raced since July, I’m not going in with any expectations. I’m just happy to be racing again this year before my focus turns to the 2018 season.”
Also in the BMC line-up are Martin Elmiger, Michael Schär, Bram Welten and Danilo Wyss.
“We are really happy to see Richie Porte back at the start line for the first time since his Tour de France crash,” directeur sportif Fabio Baldato said. “Although we are lining up at the last race of the season, the Japan Cup Cycle Road Race will be a good chance for Richie to get back into the racing rhythm before he starts a solid off-season.
“We also have Danilo Wyss and Michael Schär racing, and Martin Elmiger who will race for the last time before he retires. Rounding out the team is stagiaire Bram Welten, who will make his debut at the Japan Cup Road Race. The riders will test their legs first on Saturday at the criterium before the road race on Sunday. The Japan Cup Cycle Road Race is always an unpredictable race, but we will line up motivated for a good result in the last race of the season.”