Sam Bennett admits he was feeling the pressure to get an early win after joining his dream team for 2020.
The Irish national champion make the transfer from Bora-Hansgrohe to Deceuninck – Quick-Step in the off-season, taking on the coveted role as their lead sprinter.
Despite his outstanding run of results in 2019, Bennett has admitted the tension was high as he joined the Quick-Step winning factory.
But the 29-year-old held his nerve and delivered on the first real opportunity, taking stage honours on the opening day of the 2020 Tour Down Under.
You can view highlights from the opening stage of the race here.
Speaking after the stage, Bennett said: “I’d be lying if I’d say I didn’t feel the pressure to get that first win. I am very happy it came today, on the very first stage of the season’s first race and I can’t thank my incredible team-mates enough, because the result is down to their amazing effort.”
The opening stage of the TDU, a 150km high-speed run around Tanunda, north of Adelaide, proved to be another Quick-Step sprinting masterclass.
After holding back in the final 10km, the Quick-Step train hit the front of the bunch 1,500metres from the line, with Shane Archbold putting in a concerted effort to get his team-mate in place.
Bennett then launched off Michael Mørkøv’s wheel, holding Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) at bay to take victory in the first WorldTour race of the season.
He added: “The team is very confident in me and the way they rode was amazing and gave me great confidence. There’s a lot of experience in this squad, and they showed it today, together with that unique Wolfpack spirit, which you can feel it immediately.
“Everybody did a fantastic job and played a superb role, keeping me in position and making sure I was where I had to be in order to fight for the victory. The week has just started and I hope other good results will soon follow.”