Richie Porte: ‘We can hit the ground running at Tour Down Under’

The Australian is hoping to settle in quickly with his new Trek – Segafredo team

Riche Porte is looking to add to his collection of victories at the Tour Down Under in his first race with Trek – Segafredo.

Porte will line up with his new team during the first WorldTour race of the year, as he chases a sixth consecutive win on Willunga Hill.

The 33-year-old, who has only taken overall victory at the TDU once in 2017, has been chasing Grand Tour success in recent years and will be looking for an emphatic start to his season.

Porte said: “It’s always nice to start with a new team.

“I haven’t done a lot of time with the rest of the Trek – Segafredo boys but I know most of the guys and we have a good solid team here, so I think we can hit the ground running in this first race of the year.”

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Porte switches to Trek – Segafredo from BMC Racing, where he had been striving for Grand Tour success.

The Australian’s hopes of Tour de France victory were upended on stage nine of both the 2017 and 2018 races, when he was forced to retire due to crashes.

On his new outfit, Porte said: “We have probably one of the strongest teams I’ve ever been in for stages likes the last one to Willunga Hill, with guys like Peter Stetina and Jarlinson Pantano.

“Besides them, we’ve also got guys like Koen de Kort, who’s one of the most experienced and very good at crosswinds, together with Kiel Reijnen and Ryan Mullen.

“We’ve got a well-balanced and solid team here and I hope it will continue like that for the rest of the year.”

The now-famous Willunga Hill stage has been moved to the final day, meaning the general classification battle won’t be settled until the final meters.

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But stage three to Uraidla features 3,000meters of climbing, more than the Willunga Hill test, which means the GC struggle is likely to be defined there.

Porte added: “I think the course suited me a little better two years ago, but this year it’s also a good, challenging course.

“It’s just nice to come to Adelaide in January, this race is fantastic.

“It depends how [stage three] is ridden.

“We did the recon the other day, it’s a pretty tricky, hard stage.

“If it’s a hot day and the peloton doesn’t feel like riding hard, it could also be nothing, but looking at the course, if the proverbial hits the fan, it’s going to be a good fight indeed.”

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