Richie Porte will form part of a strong Ineos Grenadiers team for the upcoming Paris-Nice. The eight-day race, which runs from March 7-14, has been a happy hunting ground for the Australian in the past with the 36-year-old taking two overall wins in 2013 and 2015.
Porte will start this year’s edition alongside 2020 Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart and Rohan Dennis as the squad seek their seventh overall win. Porte is unsure of his form coming into the race having only taken part in the Santos Festival of Cycling back in January. The Australian race was organised as a replacement to the Tour Down Under, and although the event saw Porte win on Willunga Hill the race was a dramatically scaled-back version of the WorldTour event.
“I can’t really say what my ambitions are for this edition of Paris-Nice,” Porte said in a press release issued by the race organisers ASO. “I’ve just arrived from Australia and even in normal conditions, it’s already an extremely complicated race to win. This time, I just don’t know what sort of form I’ll be in. I’ve only raced in January in Australia, whereas my rivals have already taken part in very competitive races in Europe.”
The race has a stellar field this year with Vuelta a Espana winner and Tour de France runner up Primož Roglič leading the line for Jumbo Visma. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana–Premier Tech) also feature in a race that will feature several key mountain stages, an individual time trial and likely cross-winds in the first few days. Porte admitted that winning the race was no easy task but that he took confidence from his previous record and the fact that he would be racing on roads close to his European base once the race hit the final weekend.
“Paris-Nice is not an easy race to win, so to have won it twice is gratifying. It’s a special race for me. Because I live in Monaco, I mainly train on the roads around Nice. So, I’ll have the feeling of racing at home towards the end of the week. It’s also a tricky race, with side winds on the first days and the mountains on the second weekend. It’s a difficult race for everybody”.
With Dennis and Geoghegan Hart in the team Ineos Grenadiers certainly has options for the week of racing ahead.
“We have a very strong team for this edition of Paris-Nice. First and foremost, I want to play a role as part of a group and help the team to win, whoever it is with. Most importantly, I can’t wait to get started!”
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