The leadout train is one of the most important aspects of sprinting in pro cycling, and over the last few years Groupama - FDJ has built a big and steady block around Arnaud Démare. That however, has been dismantled this winter, and Dutchman Bram Welten is picking up the opportunity to become the Frenchman's right-hand man.
Over the past few seasons Démare, a stage winner at the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Milano-Sanremo and many other races has had a designated block that followed him throughout the season - perhaps more than any other team. That had the main parts of Jacopo Guarnieri and Ramon Sinkeldam, who are leaving towards Lotto Soudal and (if it goes according to plan) B&B Hotels-KTM respectively.
Although the French team has signed several under-23 riders who they hope to fill this role in the future, no major signing has been done by Groupama. Bram Welten was signed this season as a secondary sprinter, and he's stepping in as Démare's main leadout man in 2023, alongside Miles Scotson.
“Ninety percent of the races next season I will ride together with Miles Scotson and Arnaud," Welten revealed in an interview with Wielerflits. "Together we form the sprint train. I will therefore also make my debut in a Grand Tour in 2023. That was already foreseen in the last Vuelta a España, but Arnaud didn't start there at the last minute and that's why we did the Tour de Pologne together. I am really looking forward to a Grand Tour. If I have the choice, I think the Tour de France is very beautiful.”