Sam Bennett is set to make his debut in Deceuninck – Quick-Step colours in Australia next month. The Irishman will line up at Race Torquay, a new addition to the UCI calendar, on January 30, followed by the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Bennett joined his new team on a two-year deal, having raced for Bora-hansgrohe for the past six seasons where he built a reputation as on the of best sprinters around, having taken 42 victories to date, including five Grand Tour stages and the Irish National Championship.
Race Torquay will be on a 13.3km-long rolling circuit which the peloton will cover ten times, the race should favour the sprinters, although a late attack going all the way to the line can’t be taken out of the equation. The riders will then remain in the state of Victoria for the sixth edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (171.1 kilometres), a World Tour event which Deceuninck – Quick-Step has won on two occasions (2015 and 2019). A hillier route, featuring three ascents of the demanding Challambra Crescent, should make for an exciting race which could go down to the wire.
Joining Irish champion Bennett will be João Almeida, Shane Archbold, Mattia Cattaneo, Dries Devenyns, Iljo Keisse, and three-time Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv.
“We are really looking forward to these two races. Torquay is a new race, but we trained in the past in that area, so it’s not like it’s unknown to us. On paper, the up-and-down parcours shouldn’t be selective, as could very well be the case in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, where both attackers and sprinters will have a strong chance of fighting for victory. We won the latter twice, and in Dries and Sam we have two riders who can cover several scenarios, and that makes us confident we can come out of these appointments with some nice results”, explained sports director Rik Van Slycke.