Sam Bennett is included in the Bora-hansgrohe team for the Santos Tour Down Under where he will line up alongside World Champion Peter Sagan.
Following on from an impressive end to the 2017 season, Bennett will be supported by the team for the sprint finishes with Sagan given a free hand to animate the race.
“It would be great to start the season with a stage win in Australia,” said Enrico Poitschke, Head Sports Director.
“With Jay McCarthy we have an Australian rider in our line-up. He is super motivated for his home race and already won a stage last year when he also finished 4th overall. But also Sam Bennett will get his chances in the sprints. Peter (Sagan) will be our “Joker”. He will have all freedom to try something, but his main objective are the first Monuments.”
Bennett had his most successful season to-date in 2017. He notched up his first WorldTour win at Paris-Nice in March and went on to take another nine wins including four stages of another WorldTour race, the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.
Poitschke is feeling confident ahead of the Australian stage race as he feels that preparation has gone well.
“I am satisfied so far,” he said. “Almost all riders had a perfect preparation during the winter, everything went well and I think we achieved already a lot. Remarkable positive was our camp in December, our riders are already very familiar with each other, the spirit is really great. This can be a key factor when we get to the first challenges of the year.”
The riders will face six stages at the Santos Tour Down Under, about 730 km in total. The 5th stage to Willunga Hill, a mountain top finish after 151 km is likely to be decisive. The final stage will be held on a 4.5 km circuit in Adelaide.
“We had 10 good days of training before the first race here,” said coach Patxi Vila. “The main objective for the first days was to adapt to the time zone and climate. For some of our guys the difference in temperature was above 50 degrees! Lukas (Pöstlberger) has a little cold, but besides that everything is going well.”
“Jay joined us a few days ago, he is looking strong. Also Peter is already in good shape again, he has no pressure for the race here, but if you know Peter you can be sure that he will try something if his legs feel good.”
BORA – hansgrohe line-up for Santos Tour Down Under: