• Australian rider Richie Porte looks set to lead team Trek-Segafredo in next year's Tour de France. (AAP)
Richie Porte will line up at the Australian stage race in February for the first time since 2011.
By
Cycling Central

29 Nov - 8:25 AM 

The new Trek-Segafredo signing will complete his Australian season of racing with an appearance at the Herald Sun Tour. 

The Australian star was fifth overall in the 2008 edition when riding for Praties and has gone on to build an imposing record in some of the biggest races in Europe. Speaking to the Herald Sun, Porte indicated he was keen to go to the race to compete.

“If I’m there, I’m there to win it,” Porte said. “I did it in 2008 when Stuart O’Grady won and I did it in 2009 when Bradley Wiggins won, so it is a race to be taken seriously.

Porte has made a habit of performing in Australia, consistently winning the Willunga Hill stage at the Tour Down Under and taking overall victory at the race in 2017. Despite the glitz and glamour of the World Tour event, the more modest Herald Sun Tour has an attraction for the Tasmanian climber.

“The Herald Sun Tour is the one where the older guys like John Trevorrow and Graham McVilly all talk about it," said Porte. "You always hear the stories and it does have that prestige for an Aussie race.

“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.”

The 2019 edition looks to suit Porte, with five ascents of Arthur's Seat on the final day sure to impact the general classification battle. 

“I’ve done it (Arthur's Seat) before, but never in a race," said Porte. " I know it’s a pretty brutal little climb and five times up it is never going to be easy is it?

“But I can’t wait to get over to the Herald Sun Tour. I’m looking forward to it.”

The mens race will be run from January 30 to February 3, with the womens race a two-stage affair on January 30-31.