Richie Porte is set to return to racing for the first time since completing the Tour de France at this Friday's Milan-Turin, race organiser RCS has confirmed.
The Australian has been out of action since the end of July with hamstring injuries after having a busy start to the season, which included the Giro d'Italia and the Tour. The Italian one-day race will be one of his final races in Team Sky colours as he is due to move to BMC Racing next season. He is also set to ride at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour next month.
Joining Porte at the one-day race will be Astana's Fabio Aru, who is making his first racing appearance since winning the Vuelta a Espana, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), and last year’s Il Lombardia winner Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), who is returning after crashing out of the Vuelta.
Defending champion Giampaolo Caruso will not be present after being provisionally suspended by his team following a retrospective positive test for EPO. His teammate Joaquim Rodriguez is expected to start, although he was not among the names given by RCS.
A total of 12 WorldTour teams will be riding the event, up two from last year, with eight Pro Continental teams making up the rest of the line-up. Milan-Turin often acts as a warm-up race for Il Lombardia, one of cycling's five monuments, three days later. Starting in San Giuliano Milanese, the 2015 course takes the riders over 196 kilometres with the two ascents to the finish line at Basilica di Superga set to decide the winner. It is geared towards the climbers, although Diego Ulissi won the event in 2013.
Ulissi will not be riding this time, instead set to take part in the Gran Piemonte the following day. Sacha Modolo and Jan Polanc will join Ulissi on the Lampre-Merida line-up and could provide options for the Italian team. Also riding will be Beñat Intxausti (Movistar Team), Paolo Tiralongo (Astana Pro Team), Davide Formolo (Team Cannondale - Garmin) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
The 2015 edition of the Gran Piemonte (formerly Giro del Piemonte) will be its first since 2012, after financial and organisational problems meant it hasn’t run during the past two seasons. Rigoberto Uran was the last winner of the race after taking victory from a breakaway.
The 185-kilometre course brings the riders from San Francesco Al Campo to a final 13.3km circuit around Ciriè, northwest of Turin. It takes place a day after Milan-Turin.
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