Richie Porte has been ruled out of BMC Racing Team's line-up for Tirreno-Adriatico due to an upper respiratory infection. The Australian was set to use the Italian stage race as part of his Tour de France preparation but he will now miss the race, with the team targeting stage wins and the GC with Damiano Caruso.
"Richie Porte developed an upper respiratory infection after Volta ao Algarve which forced him to miss the best part of a week's training. Given Tirreno-Adriatico was one of Richie's goal races this season, it did not make sense to line up when his preparation was far from ideal. Richie and the BMC Racing Team management and medical team agreed that it was in his best interests to miss Tirreno-Adriatico and adjust his race program, in order to recover properly." BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr Max Testa said in a press release.
The team head into the race with former winner Greg Van Avermaet and Damiano Caruso in their line-up. Losing Porte and his GC ambitions will ensure that the team concentrate on stage wins, although Italian climber Caruso will also be given the chance to race for a GC position as the team chase vital WorldTour points.
"We are going to Tirreno-Adriatico with various ambitions, and it all starts with defending our team time trial victory from 2016 and 2017. There are then a couple of stages that should suit Greg Van Avermaet, who we know is in good shape and is always motivated to do well,” Max Sciandri said.
“Looking at the General Classification, Damiano Caruso will take on a leadership role, and we are confident that he can step up and show the form we know he has. We will also see what Rohan Dennis can do, and I'm sure he will be motivated for the final time trial again," Sciandri added.
The team also arrive with Rohan Dennis in their ranks. The Australian has set his sights on the Giro d’Italia this year and wore the leader’s jersey at the recent Abu Dhabi Tour until cracking on the single summit finish of the race. BMC expect Dennis to shine in the two time trials at Tirreno. He finished second overall in the race last year.
"I'm looking forward to going back to Tirreno-Adriatico next week. One main goal of the team will be to win the opening team time trial again, and we are motivated to do that. For me, the individual time trial will, of course, be another target and I hope to repeat my success from last year. In between the two, we will see what happens," Dennis added.
BMC Racing Team for Tirreno Adriatico: Alberto Bettiol, Patrick Bevin, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Stefan Küng, Michael Schär, Greg Van Avermaet.