According to a report in today’s Het Laatse Nieuws, Sam Bennett is set to finally sign for Deceuninck-Quick Step, with Shane Archbold also moving from Bora hansgrohe to the Belgian team.
Bennett has been linked with a move to the team since the summer but the move was put on hold as Bora hansgrohe tried to hold on to the Irish sprinter. The case was set to go before the UCI arbitration system who had to decide whether Bora-Hansgrohe and Bennett did indeed have a valid contract in place for 2020. At one stage, it was also reported that Bora hansgrohe offered to trade Bennett for Alvaro Hodeg, but Deceuninck-Quick Step team boss Patrick Lefevere turned down the offer.
“It moves in a positive sense,” Lefevere told Het Laatse Nieuws. “Of course you are only certain when you have a signed contract in your hands. But yes, it is about to finalise and good thing too, because the case has been dragging on for so long. I suspect they will have waited as long as possible at Bora-Hansgrohe. But that in the end they realise that you can’t do much with a rider you want to keep against his will. So I’m in happy expectation.”
Shane Archbold is also set to transfer to Deceuninck-Quick Step. The New Zealander has been one of the key lead-out men for Bennett where they will replace Elia Viviani and Sabatini who depart for Cofidis.
Bennett enjoyed a very successful 2019 season, taking multiple WorldTour wins with stage victories at the UAE Tour, Paris-Nice, Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey and Critérium du Dauphiné. More recently, he won the Irish National Road Race Championships.
Despite his numerous wins this season and his consistency over the past number of years where he took multiple wins each season, including three stage wins at the 2018 Giro d’Italia, Bennett was not included in BORA-hansgrohe’s selection for either the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France this year, as the team went with Pascal Ackermann and Peter Sagan respectively instead for the two Grand Tours.
“Excellent news”, says Lefevere of the impending signings. “Of course we have two strong sprinters with Jakobsen and Hodeg. But they are still young. And with 285 race days a year, it’s not an exaggerated luxury to have three sprinters.”