Combining track and road in recent years, Sam has tasted success in both disciplines throughout his career so far. The 2020 Australian criterium champion has taken several wins and strong results while racing Down Under but it is on the boards where he has been the most prodigious. Adorning the rainbow bands after success in the men’s team pursuit at the 2016, 2017 and 2019 track world championships, Sam won the scratch race in 2019 too, alongside bronze and silver medals at the Olympic Games.
Making the switch to road racing in 2022 with Team dsm-firmenich, Sam made an immediate impact and picked up his first Pro level win with stage five victory at the Tour of Turkey. Reflecting on his opening year with the team Sam describes it as a “pretty good first season”.
“I learned a lot in 2022 and it enjoyed it so far; of course, the win and the few podium places have been nice on a personal level.”
One of those podiums was Sam’s favourite day on the bike last year, just behind his win at Turkey, and that of course was his battling third place at a brutal edition of Scheldprijs. For an Australian used to racing in the warmer climates, the rain and wind was a “whole lot of fun”, and it was just a “mega day out” for Sam who thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere the fans had to offer at the side of the road despite the weather conditions.
A sportsman at heart, Sam tried a lot of different activities at a young age such as football and rugby union but his way into the world of cycling was one pathed through intrigue and inquisitiveness. Wondering where his dad was going in the morning all the time with his friends, he soon got his own bike and caught the bug from there, with the competitive aspect of racing really drawing him in, alongside the camaraderie.
“Success can come from a lot of ways, and I’ve experienced that in both road and track. Winning in a team is just as special as winning by yourself. I really strive to win, and I hold myself to a high standard as well so that I can contribute to helping the team as best as possible.”
It’s clear that Sam is a competitive person, labelling himself as “fun” but with a “fierce” side, he is also able to focus and get himself in the zone for the moments that count; and it is something he thinks is very important as an athlete to have.
“It helps with getting along with the guys and creating a good atmosphere, joking around when it’s right, but then getting into the race you all know it’s time to be serious and it’s go time. I think you need a good balance because if you don’t have fun, you’re not really going enjoy what you’re doing, or go out and do that tough training.”
That training might be tough for Sam more often now who recently moved to Andorra as his base for the season, with the sprinter joking that he enjoys the local climbs from a distance. If he’s not vying for local KOMs, then you can find Sam gaming; claiming that he is one of the best Call of Duty players in the pro peloton. If not, he’s like most Australians and enjoys spending time by the water, preferably with a beach and a barbecue.