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Sam Welsford powers to 2024 Tour Down Under hat trick

UAE-Emirates' young Mexican Isaac del Toro leads after four stages

Photo by: Sirotti

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.

The 20-year-old del Toro just joined UAE-Emirates. Photo: Sirotti

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.

Derek Gee racing on Wednesday. Photo: Sirotti

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.