Sam Bennett rejoins Bora-Hansgrohe as team leader with Ryan Mullen added to sprint train

Both 2020 Tour de France green jersey winner Bennett and Mullen have signed two-year deals
Sam Bennett rejoins Bora-Hansgrohe as team leader with Ryan Mullen added to sprint train

Sam Bennett. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

Sam Bennett has officially re-signed for his former team, Bora-Hansgrohe, as team leader where he will be joined by fellow Irishman Ryan Mullen.

Both 2020 Tour de France green jersey winner Bennett and Mullen have signed two-year deals.

Danny van Poppel and Shane Archbold also join and alongside Mullen, who leaves Trek-Segafredo, they will be tasked with providing Bennett with a lead-out to compete for further stage wins.

Bennett's departure from Deceuninck-Quick-Step has become messy in recent months with his injury-enforced absence from the Tour questioned by team manager Patrick Lefevere in a series of unseemly public comments. 

But the Carrick-on-Suir rider can look forward to leaving such controversy behind him as he "goes back home" to the team he represented for six years.

“I am very excited about returning to Bora-Hansgrohe," said Bennett.

It was a really difficult decision to leave, but I decided I needed to continue my professional and personal development in a new environment. While some may have questioned my decision at the time, I believe it is the right move for me to return to Bora-Hansgrohe. 

"I have enjoyed two great years at Deceuninck-Quick-Step, my boyhood dream team, and have continued my development both on and off the bike whilst making lifelong friendships. However, I feel ready to go back home to be the team leader that I want to be, and know Bora-Hansgrohe also wants me to be. 

"I know the team will have a slightly different roster than when I left, but the core group of people who are responsible for the team’s successful environment remains. I am ready to embrace the role of a team leader, to help drive the team forward so we can win together. 

"We've selected three incredibly talented riders to work by my side. Ryan Mullen, my compatriot, is a superb time trialist and has always impressed me with his strength when we raced together for Ireland. 

"Shane Archbold is one of the world's best and most experienced lead-out men and a rider whose knowledge of bunch sprinting is only surpassed by his own sprint speed. He is the rider I have raced alongside the most even before my pro-career. 

"It goes without saying that Danny van Poppel is an immensely successful sprinter himself and it is rare in cycling for a rider to be so capable of reading a race that he never finds himself out of position even in the most competitive bunch sprints. 

"The four of us have different strengths and we believe the amalgamation of our skills will make for a very competitive sprint train."

Addressing his injury, Bennett added: "Currently, I am still dealing with the knee injury which forced me to miss the Tour de France, but I am confident I will overcome this small setback and get back to where I want to be soon - winning races. Injuries are part of life, I’ve had them before and have overcome them, this is just another hurdle to conquer on life's journey. 

"I want to thank the staff of Deceuninck-Quick-Step for a great couple of years. There are a lot of people that I will miss and I wish them all the very best for the future."

Bora team manager Ralph Denk said: "I'm very pleased that Sam is returning to us. We've been together for several years, he turned pro with us, and we developed him into one of the best sprinters in the peloton.

"It's no secret that his departure hurt us a lot at the time. However, I can understand that he felt that step was important for his career. I’d say that only worked out partially. 

"We are a team that places a lot of value on cohesion, respect, and sustainable cooperation, as we believe that these are the foundations for long-term success. You can have disagreements sometimes. However, as long as you treat each other with respect, you will always find each other again. That was also the case here. 

"We have clear goals with Sam and I am confident that with our support he will be able to achieve several victories over the coming years. 

"He is undisputedly one of the very best sprinters in the world and has proven this by winning the green jersey at the 2020 Tour. We have also put together a strong sprint train for him. Danny, in particular, will play a pivotal role. As a sprinter, he has both the experience and the speed to place and impose himself accordingly in fast finishes. Even though the role is new to him, I have every confidence in him. 

"Shane has also been with us for many years, so we know his strengths. And Ryan has the fast pace necessary to keep the other guys in position ahead of the final kilometre. I think we are very well positioned with these new signings."

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