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Sam Bennett's switch to Deceuninck-QuickStep likely as contract impasse solved

Contract gridlock between Sam Bennett and Bora-Hansgrohe looks to have been resolved

Joe Robinson
30 Oct 2019

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett looks set to sign for Deceuninck-QuickStep after resolving his contract saga with current team Bora-Hansgrohe.

The 29-year-old had hoped to move teams at the end of 2019 but his current Bora-Hansgrohe team claimed the rider had already agreed to continue with them through to the end of next season.

With Bennett still keen to swap teams, the issue was then taken to the UCI arbitration panel. However, it is now being reported by Belgian newspaper Het Laatste News that the deadlock between Bennett and Bora-Hansgrohe has broken, pathing the way for a move to Patrick Lefevere's Deceuninck-QuickStep team.

Lefevere suggested to the Belgian newspaper that the deal could be finalised soon.

'It's moving. In a positive sense. Of course, you're only certain when you have a signed contract in your hands, but yes [the saga] is about to finish. That's a good thing because the business has been dragging on for so long now,' said Lefevere.

'I suspect that they will have waited as long as possible at Bora-Hansgrohe, to make Bennett nervous so that he would pay to end his contract. But in the end, they realised that you can't do much with a rider you want to keep against his will. So, I'm in happy expectation.'

Bennett would provide a like-for-like replacement for Italian sprinter Elia Viviani, who departs the Belgian team for Confidis in 2020. Bennett managed 11 WorldTour victories in 2019 including two stages of the Vuelta a Espana.

Bennett would join young sprinters Fabio Jakobsen and Alvaro Hodeg at the Belgian team, providing multiple options which Lefevere sees as a positive.

'Of course, we have two strong sprinters with Fabio Jakobsen and Hodeg, but they are still young. And with 285 days of competition per year, it's not a luxury to have three sprinters in the team,' said Lefevere.

'This is excellent news'.