24 Jan 2021

Sam Welsford takes the cake in the final stage of Santos Festival of Cycling


It was a battle of the favourites on the final straight of TREK Stage 4, but Team Garmin Australia's Sam Welsford was able to get his wheel over the line that much faster than BikeExchange's Kaden Groves in the end.

The men's criterium started out with an early attack that strung the peloton out for the first several laps of the race, before a solid breakaway formed first with three riders, then with five, then with seven riders and back down to two.

As the bell rang for the first sprint, a good sized breakaway worked to gain a decent gap.

The first Ziptrak intermediate sprint was claimed by Raphael Freiensten of Inform TM Insight Make, hot on his wheel was sprint jersey holder Cyrus Monk.

The battle was on for the second intermediate sprint, with barely a hair between the front wheels of Matt Ross from Cycle House Racing and Brendan Davids of Oliver's Real Food Racing, but it was clear in a profile replay that the points were Ross's.

As the peloton swallowed up the breakaway on the final four laps, Santos leader's jersey holder Luke Durbridge led the pack, protecting Team BikeExchange sprint favourite Kaden Groves. When Durbridge's work was over, he unleashed his weapon: Groves.

Meanwhile, super domestique Richie Porte was doing the work for his teammate Sam Welsford - once Porte made way for Welsford, it was on.

In a tight and nail biting sprint, coming around the final bend, Team Garmin Australia's Sam Welsford powered ahead to snag the win in a show of power and speed.

A tough tight bend was the hurdle Welsford was most worried about -

"The last straight was a big drag race, it was really technical, we hit the corner about 65kmh and that was our one shot."

Lucky he nailed it!


The Santos Tour Down Under is part of the UCI World Tour

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