Porte signs with Trek, will lead 2019 Tour team

The team confirmed Thursday that the Australian has signed a two-year contract.

Australian Richie Porte has signed a two-year contract with Trek-Segafredo and is expected to lead the squad at next summer’s Tour de France.

The long-rumored signing was confirmed Thursday morning via a team press release.

“I am thrilled to finally confirm that I will join Trek-Segafredo in 2019. I had a great time at BMC Racing Team, and I want to thank them for the past three years, but I feel ready to take on another challenge, which I am certain I will find at Trek-Segafredo,” Porte said.

“I am particularly looking forward to focusing on more races throughout the year. Of course, the Tour de France will still be a huge goal for me, and I am excited to go there to race with a super strong team alongside me, but I will also aim for one-week stage races, like the ones I have won before, and the ones I have never raced.”

Porte has ridden for BMC Racing since 2016, and before that he raced four years with Sky, two years with Saxo Bank, and two years with Continental team Praties. BMC is merging with CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice for next year.

Trek general manager Luca Guercilena said the 33-year-old Porte will bring veteran leadership to the team.

“Richie is a remarkable cyclist that has shown his capacities in the past, and I am confident he still has great results in him for the next few years,” Guercilena said. “Obviously, he has a lot of experience and leadership to share with our young riders, something I believe the whole team will benefit from.”

Porte has long been considered a grand tour contender, but he has suffered bouts of bad luck in his bids to win one. He crashed out of the last two Tours de France, for example, and he withdrew from the 2015 Giro d’Italia with an injury caused by a crash. In the 2016 Tour de France, a mechanical early in the race cost Porte precious time, although he was able to claw back to fifth overall.

The Trek release said it will build its Tour de France team around Porte next year.

“I am really excited to start this new chapter in my career,” Porte said. “I can’t wait!”