Richie Porte won’t have a chance to show his form at the Tour de Romandie after an illness forced him to abandon.
The Australian was part of BMC Racing’s one-two punch with Tejay van Garderen, but he was zapped with a stomach bug overnight, taking him out of the Swiss WorldTour race ahead of Thursday’s first test in the mountains.
“He developed some gastro-intestinal problems and a fever overnight,” BMC team doctor Dario Spinelli said. “He is showing signs of a virus and has lost his appetite.”
Looking to avoid making the illness worse in inclement conditions at Romandie, which has been hampered with snow, rain, and cold in the opening two days, BMC decided it was more prudent to pull the Tasmanian out of the race. Third at Paris-Nice and fourth at the Volta a Catalunya, Porte would have been in the thick of the battle in what’s a major clash between some of the peloton’s top GC riders, including Sky’s Chris Froome and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana.
“Of course it’s disappointing to stop, but I trust the doctors,” said Porte, who is scheduled to race the Criterium du Dauphiné in June ahead of the Tour de France.
In other team news, BMC extended the contract with promising Belgian rider Dylan Teuns.
“It was an obvious decision to keep a rider like Dylan Teuns in the team,” general manager Jim Ochowicz said. “He has showed very good results, especially lately in the Ardennes classics, and he has a great future ahead of him in BMC Racing Team.”
Teuns is among six riders who’ve made the jump to the WorldTour from BMC’s development team. BMC does not reveal details of rider contracts, but it’s clear the team is hoping the 24-year-old can step up in the coming years. A strong run through the Ardennes classics, with top-20 finishes in both Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, bodes well for the future.
With the contract future of superstar Philippe Gilbert still to be decided, BMC is clearly covering its bets to keep Teuns in-house.