With two wins in his past three attempts and second to Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) last year, Richie Porte is heading into Paris-Nice on Sunday with a tonne of ambition and the backing of a strong roster.
New BMC Racing recruit Nicolas Roche will head the line-up of proven support riders, teaming up with Porte for the first time since they both rode with Team Sky in 2015.
Also on the Paris-Nice roster for BMC are Alessandro De Marchi, Amaël Moinard, Michael Schär, Dylan Teuns, Francisco Ventoso and Danilo Wyss.
"We are taking a very strong team with riders like Amaël Moinard, Nicolas Roche and Alessandro De Marchi, who will play an important role in the mountain stages," said BMC director Yvon Ledanois. "Michael Schär, Danilo Wyss and Francisco Ventoso bring a wealth of road experience, and Dylan Teuns brings additional support on both the flat and the climbs. I'm really confident in Richie and the team."
Porte has been on an extended break from competition since opening his season in January at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race at home in Australia, where he won both hilltop finishes at the Tour Down Under and won the overall in convincing fashion.
"Paris-Nice is the first big goal for Richie since he returned to Europe this season," Ledanois said. "Richie had a great start to the year at the Santos Tour Down Under, and we want to continue this success as we look towards July. As we have already seen, Richie is in a great shape and is really motivated to do well at Paris-Nice, particularly as he has won on two previous occasions."
For his part, Porte said he is eager to return to competition after more than a month of training at home and in Europe.
"I'm really motivated to do well at Paris-Nice," he said. "It's my home race in Europe and I've won twice before, so a third win would give me a lot of confidence for the next part of the season.
"I haven't raced since Australia in January but I've had a solid block of training in Tasmania and Monaco, so I'm looking forward to racing again," Porte said.
BMC Racing for Paris-Nice: Alessandro De Marchi, Amaël Moinard, Richie Porte, Nicolas Roche, Michael Schär, Dylan Teuns, Francisco Ventoso, Danilo Wyss