Sam Bennett will be making his debut in Quick-Step colours at the Tour Down Under 2020.
The Irish sprinting talent will be racing with Deceuninck – Quick-Step this season after finally breaking free from Bora-Hansgrohe.
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Bennett, 29, will step in to fill the top sprinter spot vacated by Elia Viviani, as the Irish national champion looks to prove himself at the Tour de France for the first time later this year.
First, Bennett will familiarise himself with the Quick-Step train in Australia from January 21 to 26 in the first men’s WorldTour race of the year.
Sports director Rik van Slycke said: “We are looking forward to starting the new season again at the Tour Down Under, where it is always a pleasure to be present, as it’s such as well-organised race with amazing fans.
“We go there with a strong team and a motivated Sam Bennett, who will try to get his first victory in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step jersey.
“He’ll have experience men around him, so we are confident he can achieve this goal. We can also think about getting a good GC result, but we’ll take it day-by-day, see how things go and how our riders cope with the heat.”
The Tour Down Under is shaping up to be another promising battleground for the sprinters, with Viviani, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) also racing.
Bennett will be supported by a strong lead-out train, including his faithful lieutenant Shane Archbold who has also joined from Bora, Iljo Keisse and Michael Mørkøv. Jãoa Almeida, Mattia Cattaneo and Dries Devenyns will round out the Quick-Step squad.
Away from the sprinters, reigning champion Daryl Impey is expected to be racing with Mitchelton-Scott, while the star of the Willunga Hill stage Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) is also expected to line up.