• Richie Porte will head into the Tour de France as sole leader for BMC. (Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)Source: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com
Richie Porte says Cadel Evans's advice is invaluable as he tries to emulate his fellow Australian's Tour de France triumph.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
AAP
15 Dec 2016 - 7:48 AM 

Having fought his way out of a corner to win the Tour de France, Cadel Evans is now in Richie Porte's corner.

Evans is proving an invaluable ally for his fellow Australian star as Porte tries to crack the code of cycling's most famous race.

Porte said next season would be pivotal as he tries to emulate Evans' historic 2011 Tour win.

"I think for me it's probably the most important year of my career," the BMC team leader told the Cyclingtips website.

"So I'm really looking forward to just getting stuck into it.

"Being an Australian, it's an added (bonus) to have Cadel.

"He's a big inspiration for me. One of the reasons I'm riding a bike is the Cadel Evans factor.

"So then to have Cadel this year in the Tour de France like on WhatsApp or even in the room before the race started, is a huge mental tower to lean on, I think."

Evans won the Tour with BMC and while he retired early last year, he remains involved heavily at the team.

Porte switched from the powerful British Team Sky this year to BMC so he could ride for himself at big races such as the Tour, rather than be a lieutenant for his good friend Chris Froome.

BMC's 2017 kit: still red and black but different
BMC recently inked a deal with TAG Heuer as a major sponsor and now Swiss cycling apparel company ASSOS to provide the rebranded kit for 2017. Modelled here by Australian Richie Porte, the red and black motif has not changed but been rearranged, noticeably in the shorts. The sleeve placement for a major sponsor would at first appear odd but works because of the shield design of the TAG logo which should stand out in a fast moving peloton.

The Tasmanian started this year's Tour as team co-leader with American Tejay van Garderen, but it soon was clear that Porte was their main hope.

Porte finished fifth, his best result at the race, and if he had not suffered a crucial puncture it could have been as high as second.

Evans famously rallied from a bike change at a critical moment in the 2011 Tour to finally win the title after several near-misses.

"Cadel is a hard cookie. He always was one of the hardest riders out there," Porte said.

"I remember riding that Tour (2011) and seeing him stopped on the side of the road, cool as a cucumber, having a bike change.

"I don't think anybody has won the Tour with a straightforward race. There is always something that the road throws up at you."

BMC have made it clear that Porte is now their No.1 Tour de France rider.

He is expected to start his season at the January 4-8 road nationals in Ballarat, followed by Adelaide's January 14-22 Tour Down Under.