Sally Prowd | Friday, August 17, 2018

ACA - Ride Sunshine Coast cyclist, Sam Welsford, has taken out the third stage of the Campolina Visit Victoria Tour of the Great South Coast on Thursday.

The Sunshine Coast rider, 22, dominated the final sprint to win comfortably from his rivals in the 128.5km stage, the latest in the Australian National Road Series.

Welsford, an eight-time world champion and dual Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist, is racing his first road race back with ACA since the Games in April.

The stage, a gruelling five laps (each 26-kilometres), kicked off with the strong teams putting pressure on the field early to split the race into a number of different bunches. At the 50-kilometre mark, a 25-rider breakaway pushed hard to get away to form a bunch, which included Welsford and his ACA teammates.

Welsford sat in the lead break before unleashing his powerful sprint in the final metres to defy his rivals in to the finish in Portland, VIC.

“I kicked early in the sprint and held on,” Welsford said.

“It was a really hard day because of the difficulty of the course and constantly changing cross-winds, so to counter all that and still have good legs at the end was really pleasing,” he said.

Welsford is part of a five-man squad at the Tour of the Great South Coast, with his fellow Commonwealth Games team pursuit gold medallist, Kelland O’Brien also in the team. They are joined by Cameron Scott, Ashley Mackay and Toby Orchard.

Team Director, Ben Kersten, said they have been pleasantly surprised by Welsford’s form, given he hadn’t raced since the Commonwealth Games.

“Sam took a really well-deserved break after the Games, and this is his first big hit out since April,” Kersten said.

“Sometimes after a break it takes a little while to come into your form and get your legs back. But Sam is such a huge talent and absolute star of the future, so really we shouldn’t be surprised. He has come back in excellent form, which is fantastic for him and the team,” he said.

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