Sam Welsford, the affable Australian cyclist who has been a revelation in 2023, is set for a significant change in his professional life. Having sprinted to multiple victories for Team DSM-Firmenich last year, Welsford confirmed with IDLProCycling.com that he is looking forward to donning BORA-hansgrohe colours come next season.
With his roots in track cycling, particularly the team pursuit where he earned a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, Welsford expressed a strong desire to transition to road cycling. His ascent in the new discipline has been meteoric. At the age of 27, the sprinter from Subiaco, near Perth, has already secured a stage win in his first year as a professional at the Tour of Turkey, and nabbed a third-place finish in the Scheldeprijs. The year 2023 commenced on a high note for Welsford as he racked up two stage victories at the Vuelta a San Juan.
The Tour de France: A Steep Learning Curve for Welsford
Mid-June saw an excited Welsford discussing his anticipation for his first grand tour – the Tour de France. Though his best result was a tenth-place finish, he later rebounded by clinching a stage in the Renewi Tour in August, outpacing esteemed riders like Olav Kooij and Jasper Philipsen. Welsford reflected on his year with positivity, acknowledging his numerous victories and the significant strides he has made in improving his sprinting prowess.
Regarding the Tour de France, he still looks back on the experience with fervour. Though the results may not have been up to his expectations, he emphasised the immense value in the experience and the development he underwent. Welsford indicated that the knowledge gained from enduring a 21-stage race had already proved beneficial in subsequent competitions, hinting at his success in the Renewi Tour and suggesting it would be advantageous in more arduous races ahead.
Transitional Gratitude and Anticipation for Welsford’s Future
The announcement at the end of August that Welsford would be joining BORA-hansgrohe as of January 1, 2024, came as Ralph Denk, the team’s manager, praised the rider for his pure sprinting talent and high speed, which Denk believes will complement the team’s existing sprinters. Welsford himself commented on the move with a blend of enthusiasm and gratitude. He dismissed any notion of nervousness, preferring to describe his feelings as a ‘healthy excitement.’ Expressing gratitude to DSM-Firmenich for their faith in him when other teams might have been reticent, he accredited them with his development into the sprinter he is today.
Looking ahead, Welsford is intrigued by the new chapter with BORA-Hansgrohe and the possibilities it holds. Having already connected with some members of his future team, he conveyed a sense of comfort and familiarity with the setup. The conversations with his future teammates left him with a positive impression, and his remarks concluded with anticipation for the new adventure that awaits him in the world of professional cycling.