The Australian will be making his return after an eight-year absence

Australian Grand Tour hopeful Richie Porte is due to ride the 2019 Herald Sun Tour for the first time in eight years.

Porte will take part in the stage race down under for the first time since 2011 in Trek-Segafredo kit.

The 34-year-old moves to Trek from BMC, which is undergoing a radical change and becoming CCC Team from next year.

Porte told the Herald Sun: “I’ve wanted to do it for years, but it just never really fit or I was riding for teams that weren’t going to do it, but next year with Trek it just worked.”

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The Tasmanian, who left Team Sky in 2015 to chase his own general classification ambitions, is expected to open his season at the Tour Down Under in January, where he has racked up six previous stage wins.

He will then race the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race before taking to the line of the 66th edition of the Herald Sun Tour, which runs from January 30 to February 3.

Porte has been chasing Grand Tour victory in recent years, but has been hindered by back luck.

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He finished fifth in the 2016 Tour de France, but has not finished the last two editions of the race, crashing on stage nine of both the 2017 and 2018 editions.

Other big name riders have been firming up their 2019 plan, including Chris Froome (Team Sky), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).

Froome is due to open his season with the Tour Colombia in February, while sprinters Cavendish and Sagan will go head-to-head at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina in January.