Roche arrives in China after a solid run of late-season form, which included fourth at the Giro dell’Emilia, 12th at Il Lombardia and 14th overall at the Vuelta a España. The Irishman was a stage winner in China’s previous WorldTour event, the Tour of Beijing, in 2011.
“For the general classification at the Tour of Guangxi, we have both Ben Hermans and Nicolas Roche,” said BMC directeur sportif Marco Pinotti. “Both riders showed their good condition recently at Il Lombardia and they can take advantage of their current form and end their seasons well.”
Roche and Hermans will be joined on the BMC team by Silvan Dillier, Floris Gerts, Daniel Oss, Joey Rosskopf and Manuel Senni.
As expected, there is no place in the BMC line-up for Greg Van Avermaet, though the Belgian is expected to attend the UCI Gala on the final evening of the race, where he will be crowned winner of the 2017 WorldTour.
“All of our riders will have the possibility to step up and take any opportunities that present themselves,” Pinotti said. “At the end of the season, riders are always motivated for a good result to end their year well and with this being the inaugural edition of the Tour of Guangxi, I think all of our riders will be looking for a good result.”
The Tour of Guangxi will mark Hermans’ final appearance in the colours of BMC. The Belgian will race for Israel Cycling Academy in 2018, but will look to sign off on his four-year stint at BMC with a solid showing in China. Hermans won two stages and the overall at the Tour of Oman in February.
After the two races in Italy, Giro dell'Emilia and Il Lombardia, my motivation is high to get a good result. I had good form there, so I want to finish well in the last race of the season," Hermans said. "We don't know what to expect for the parcours. Looking at the stage profiles, I think the steep uphill finish of stage 4 will suit me. I hope the legs will be good that day and I can get the result we are aiming for."
While the uphill finish on stage 4 to NongLa Scenic Spot looks set to be decisive for the general classification, Pinotti pointed out that the peloton’s unfamiliarity with the parcours could lead to unpredictable racing.
"Most of the stages seem to favour fast riders and then the uphill finish on stage 4 is good for the punchers and climbers,” Pinotti said. “As usual, it will be the riders who make the race and given we have never raced on the parcours before, any stage could have an unexpected outcome."
BMC Racing for Tour of Guangxi (19-24 October):
Silvan Dillier (Swi), Floris Gerts (Ned), Ben Hermans (Bel), Daniel Oss (Ita), Nicolas Roche (Irl), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Manuel Senni (Ita)