Richie Porte will be attempting to join an illustrious list this week and expects to get his best Tour de France form guide in the course of the event.
Porte, 32, will be looking to become the sixth three-time winner of the weeklong stage race that starts at the traditional end point of the Tour de France and terminates just a short ride away from his European home.
The Paris-Nice which dates as far back as in 1933, remains the most prestigious WorldTour stage race outside the three Grand Tours. Where Porte is able to add to his successes in 2013 and 2015, he will go on to join up with such cycling royalty as Laurent Jalabert, Eddy Merckx, Joop Zoetemelk and Sean Kelly as triple winners of the event.
The Tasmanian who began this season with a long overdue victory in South Australia’s Tour Down Under, currently sits at the top of the world rankings. He would be in the lead for the BMC racing squad as they head into the 1227-kilometre, eight-stage race.
“Tour Down Under was a big goal but I want to win Paris-Nice. It’s a race I’m easily motivated for. It’s still the biggest race I’ve won so feels like my home event. It finishes so close to Monaco and one of the stages goes within five kilometres of home,” he said.
Some of the riders listed on the provisional start list includes the likes of Sylvain Chavenel (Direct Energie), Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), and his former Saxobank teammate Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo).
Chris Froome – his Tour de France nemesis and former Team Sky leader – is conspicuously absent amongst the rest of the field in what would be the 75th edition of the Race to the Sun.