Sam Welsford might not have the race lead, but after four stages of the 2024 WorldTour’s opener in Australia, Sam Welsford has a hat trick of stage victories in his home tour. The 28 year old from Bora-Hansgrohe had never won a WorldTour race before the 2024 Santos Tour Down Under. The surprise victor of the second stage, UAE-Emirates’ young Mexican Isaac del Toro, continues to lead the race.
Welsford, who switched from DSM-Firmenich this year, powered to the Stage 1 win in Tanunda to take the ocher leader’s jersey, but the next day, when del Toro attacked within the final kilometer and held fast, Welsford finished nearly a minute back. However, his crack lead-out team delivered him to triumphs in Campbelltown on Thursday and Port Elliott on Friday.
Canada’s Derek Gee and Guillaume Boivin are in South Australia with Israel-Premier Tech. Boivin’s best result was 47th on the opening stage in Tanunda; he sits at 128th in GC. Gee was 22nd in Thursday’s leg and occupies the 38th spot in GC.
Saturday’s penultimate stage features two climbs of the famed Willunga Hill, and the summit finish will explode the GC. There are 68 riders within 11 seconds of del Toro.