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PARIS (AFP) — BMC has built its 2017 Tour de France team around Richie Porte, with the aim of putting the Australian on the final podium, team director Fabio Baldato said on Thursday.
“He is our top priority,” Baldato said. Porte came fifth last year in the Tour, won the Tour of Romandie last month, and came close to winning the Critérium du Dauphiné two weeks ago.
Porte will be aided in the mountains in his bid to win — or at least finish on the podium — by Irishman Nicolas Roche and Italian climber Damiano Caruso.
In the low mountains, France’s Amael Moinard and breakaway specialist Alessandro De Marchi will target stage wins.
Olympic and Paris-Roubaix champion Greg Van Avermaet won Tour stages in each of the past two years. This edition is loaded with just the type of rolling terrain he thrives on. However, he will face stiff competition from an on-form Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who recently won two stages in Tour de Suisse as well as the points classification.
BMC also feels Stefan Kung can win the opening 14km time trial around Dusseldorf. Notably, Australian Rohan Dennis, who won both time trial stages at Tour de Suisse, is not on the BMC Tour roster.
That first stage in Germany is on July 1, with the race concluding in Paris on July 23.
BMC team for the 2017 Tour de France
Richie Porte (Aus)
Damiano Caruso (I)
Alessandro De Marchi (I)
Stefan Kung (Swi)
Amael Moinard (F)
Nicolas Roche (Irl)
Michael Schar (Swi)
Greg Van Avermaet (B)
Danilo Wyss (Swi)