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With his contract dispute with Bora-Hansgrohe in the rearview mirror, Sam Bennett’s transfer plans are finally official. Confirming months of rumors, Deceuninck-Quick-Step announced on Tuesday that both Bennett and his trusted lead-out man Shane Archbold would be heading to the Belgian WorldTour squad next season on two-year deals.
“The protracted nature of Sam’s move has been well documented but I am delighted to have him on board,” said Deceuninck-Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere. “His palmares alone speaks volumes about his talent and determination, but he is also a great character and another leader to have around the team. We all cannot wait to start working with him.”
Bennett, the reigning Irish national road champ, has emerged as one of the sport’s premier speedsters over the past two seasons. He collected three stage wins last year at the Giro d’Italia and two Vuelta a España stage wins this year, along with stage victories in one-week events. Even as his profile has risen dramatically, however, his relationship with his Bora-Hansgrohe squad soured this year as the German team opted not to take him to the Giro or the Tour de France, instead focusing on giving opportunities to up-and-coming talent Pascal Ackermann and established star Peter Sagan.
Rumors of Bennett’s impending transfer out of the Bora team heated up this summer, but then reports emerged that he had signed a letter of intent to stay at Bora in May, and that Bora was holding him to the commitment. The contract dispute dragged all the way to November when Bora announced that Bennett would leave the team.
Bennett’s move to Deceuninck-Quick-Step will give the team a new featured rider for the bunch kicks as Elia Viviani moves to Cofidis next season.
“I am delighted to get to sign with Deceuninck-Quick-Step, the team I had a poster of on my wall when I was a kid,” Bennett said in the team’s announcement.
“I remember going to a race with An Post and seeing Quick-Step at races and I was intimidated by such a big team. I never thought I would be good enough to sign for them, so be able to say that I am riding for them is a dream come true and I can’t wait to get to work with the guys and starting working and racing with them. It is a daunting task to race for this team, but it is motivating and a challenge, having been with my previous team for so long and I feel refreshed.”