Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte will lead BMC at the Tour Down Under, but with Dennis focussing on the Olympics we are likely to see a new champion

Richie Porte‘s is set to join defending champion and new teammate Rohan Dennis on the start line of the Tour Down Under, with BMC going into the race with two strong options for overall victory.

The race, between January 19-24, comes nine days after the end of the Australian National Championships – where Porte is reigning time trial champion – in which Porte will wear the BMC kit for the first time.

Dennis came away with the Tour Down Under’s ochre jersey last season by holding off Porte by two seconds in the South Australia race, although the 25-year-old says winning the race again isn’t one of his goals this year.

“The team wants me to win and I would love to win, but my goals have changed for this season,” Dennis said at the team’s training camp in Denia, Spain.

“I think the best way to go into it is thinking about [the Rio Olympics] and later on in the season, and see what happens.”

Richie Porte attacks to win stage five of the 2015 Tour Down Under (Watson)

Richie Porte attacks to win stage five of the 2015 Tour Down Under (Watson)

Porte has never won his home race, but has come out on top in each of the last two ascents of Willunga Hill – the final climb of the race’s Queen stage – and hopes to play his part on the climb again in 2016.

“To start with the Tour Down Under is the best possible way to start. Having won the past two years on Willunga Hill, why not go for the trifecta? With Rohan and I there I think we’re going to have a great team, so I’m really looking forward to taking on a challenging race.”

BMC team for the Tour Down Under
Marcus Burghardt, Alessandro De Marchi, Rohan Dennis, Floris Gerts, Richie Porte, Danillo Wyss, Peter Velits