BMC Racing Team will line up at Tirreno-Adriatico next week (7 - 13 March) with a strong team with multiple objectives, after Richie Porte was ruled out of racing due to illness.
"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 explained
Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said BMC Racing Team will be targeting both stage wins and the General Classification at the seven-day UCI WorldTour stage race.
"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. 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 explained.
Caruso is looking to challenge himself on home soil.
"It is always nice to race Tirreno-Adriatico, and I always like racing in Italy. This year will be a hard race because there are a lot of really hard days including one stage with almost 5000 meters of elevation. We have a strong team lining up with different goals. We start with the TTT which is really important for us and then we also have Greg Van Avermaet who can go for a few stages. A new scenario has opened up for me at this year's race, and hopefully, I can try to fight for the GC but with a day by day philosophy and with no pressure. There are many champions in this race, so it is very difficult to get a result but I have nothing to lose, and so I will give it a try," Caruso said.
Dennis, who finished second in 2017, has his sights set on the final individual time trial.
"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.
Tirreno-Adriatico (7 - 13 March)
Rider Roster: Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Patrick Bevin (NZL), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
Sports Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA)