Skip to main content


Danny van Poppel has said he was “waiting for a fast sprinter” and after some difficulties with Sam Bennett the team now had Sam Welsford who was “a powerhouse” (Photo: Bora-hansgrohe)

Danny van Poppel has hailed the “new Sam” in his Bora-hansgrohe team after leading out new team mate Sam Welsford to victory on the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

The Dutch rider’s remarks, which will raise more than a few eyebrows in Ireland, included a comparison between Welsford and the man he replaces as the Bora-hansgrohe sprinter this year, Sam Bennett.

Van Poppel said while Bennett was a friend of his, things had not worked out last year when he was leading out the Irishman. And as cycling was a business, and the team wanted wins, he was delighted to now be working with “a fast sprinter” in Welsford.

“We did (lead-outs) often last year but it was with Bennett. It turned out not really well,” Van Poppel said speaking to journalists after the opening stage today.

“But the new Sam, he’s a powerhouse. And we knew if we can do the perfect lead-out he can hold the power because he pushed a lot of power. He has so much power from the track.

“I think if you do a lead-out like, these guys, like Kittel, Greipel, Welsford, they can do it, and that’s exactly what we need. I was waiting for a, for a, it’s hard to say, a fast sprinter – even Sam Bennett is a good friend of mine, in the end, it’s business and we want to win.

“He (Welsford) is a relaxed guy and to be honest he’s just riding two years in the WorldTour, so everything is new for him and he’s super hungry still. He can be the new sprinter. With us it’s a perfect combination, I think.”

For his part, Welsford thanked his team – including Ryan Mullen – several times, and when asked about his final lead-out man, Van Poppel, he heaped praise on him.

“I mean, he was amazing,” he said of Van Poppel. “You know, like he was also rallying us in the last three kilometres keeping us calm, telling us where to go.

“There’s this thing that everyone says he can almost see it before it happens, like he can see stuff in slow motion and that’s one of the biggest strengths to have in the team and he was incredible in the last 400 meters he did before me for the sprint.

“I was on the wheels, it was already hard for me on the wheel and then I had to kick but that’s all about sprinting now having that last guy.”

#Van #Poppel #Sam #Bennett #friend #business #win

Source link