Vuelta a San Juan S6: Sam Welsford wins big in bunch sprint

DSM track and road ace outkicks bunch sprint powerhouses Bennett, Gaviria, Jakobsen for headline victory.

Photo: Getty Images

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Sam Welsford (Team DSM) out-galloped the likes of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), and Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal Quick-Step) for his biggest victory on the road at the Vuelta a San Juan.

The Aussie track and tarmac star timed his move Saturday to zip past a host of bunch sprint behemoths in a fast downhill finish and become the latest sprinter to take the honors in Argentina.

Stage 1 winner Bennett came in second, stage 4 winner Gaviria third.

Miguel Angel López (Medellin EPM) finished in the bunch to retain his 30-second GC lead heading into the final stage Sunday.

Welsford’s victory Saturday was DSM’s first of 2023 – and only hours before his teammate Marius Mayrhofer topped the podium at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Welsford also recorded DSM’s first victory of 2022 at last year’s Tour of Turkey.

“The team was amazing today and I couldn’t have done it without the guys – they looked after me the whole day and have done all week,” he said.

“They believed in me, they backed me up and they said today’s sprint suits me, so we went fully in. Into the finale we were super committed so I think we really deserve this!

“It was a really hard day out today,” Welsford continued. “It was pretty controlled by the sprint teams, but the run-in was really fast and I think we hit speeds of up to 75 kph, so it was really fast and the last five kilometers were super tough.”

The race will be decided Sunday in a flat and fast circuit race in San Juan center.

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