The Australian has won the queen stage to Willunga Hill for the past two years, but will hoping to go one further and take the overall
The 31-year-old admits he’s unsure of his form having not competed since the Rio Olympic Games road race in August but has outwardly expressed his aims at the race, which starts Tuesday.
“I think I’m in pretty good condition and super motivated for this race this year,” Porte said.
“On paper it probably suits me more than it has in the past few years.
“I think it’s always easy for us Aussies to be motivated for Tour Down Under. For me, it’s probably the most enjoyable race on the calendar.”
BMC has assembled a crack line-up to aid Porte in his bid to win an inaugural title at the tour he has finished second overall in as many years.
Former champion Rohan Dennis, newly crowned Australian road champion Miles Scotson as well as Danilo Wyss, Amael Moinard, Francisco Ventoso and Damiano Caruso are all set to support the lean climber through a much hillier 19th edition.
“I wouldn’t say there is any pressure on me from the team, which at the end of the day is all that matters,” Porte said of expectations.
“Gerro’s name is on the [event hotel] stairs four times and Rohan’s. I’d love to have my name there. I think that’s one of the biggest motivating factors. I’d like to win this race.”
The Tasmanian faces stiff competition against defending champion Simon Gerrans, who may have to give way to his Orica-Scott teammate Esteban Chaves, with Sergio Henao (Sky) another pre-race favourite and world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) an enigma.
“I’ve been in better form and still finished second here,” Porte said of his ‘favourite’ status. “I’d love to win the race. That’s all I’ve really got to say.”
Porte may have played bridesmaid in the overall standings in recent years but he has reigned as king of the iconic Willunga Hill queen stage.
Since 2014, his trademark attack just over a kilometre out from the hill-top finish line hasn’t been matched.
“I think Sky, with Sergio Henao, they might want to line it out. Let’s just see how the race is.
“With [stage two in] Paracombe it does change things a little bit, so we’ll take it as it comes.”
Porte hasn’t fully outlined his season aims but is, after fifth place finish at the Tour de France last year, due to solely lead BMC Racing there again this season, with Tejay van Garderen now focused on the Giro d’Italia.
“I’ve trained well, I’ve got the weight down and I’m ready to go. I think the last five months have allowed me to be a little bit more motivated probably coming into this race,” he said.