Sam Bennett has officially signed with Deceuninck – Quick-Step after breaking free from his former team Bora-Hansgrohe.
Irishman Bennett was locked into a battle with Bora as team management tried to keep him beyond the end of his contract after he is believed to have signed an early offer letter.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Rumours had suggested Bennett intended to move to Quick-Step and on Tuesday (December 3) the squad announced that Bennett would be joining after Bora eventually agreed to release him.
Bennett, 29, said: “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. 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.”
Bennett will be joined at Quick-Step by his faithful lead-out rider Shane Archbold, who racing at WorldTour level three years after he was forced out by a crash.
Kiwi Archbold, who will also be switching from Bora-Hansgrohe. said: “It has been an up and down few years for me and to be able to join them is great for me and I am looking forward to being able to improve and race with what is regarded as the world’s best team.
“Obviously, me and Sam have had a good relationship since 2013 and it will be great to continue that. We have grown as a pair since then and to be able to be part of the progress of a great friend is an honour.”
After spending six seasons with Bora-Hansgrohe, first at Professional Continental level then when the team stepped up to WorldTour level, Bennett grew frustrated after he was left out of the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France squads.
Bennett has won three stages of the Giro and two stages of the Vuelta a España, with only a Tour stage missing from his Grand Tour palmarès.
Quick-Step boss Lefevere said: “The protracted nature of Sam’s move has been well documented but I am delighted to have him on board. His palmarès 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.”