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LA PLANCHE, FRANCE - JULY 11: Andre Greipel of...

André Greipel signs for Israel Cycling Academy

Veteran sprinter back in WorldTour after a disappointing 2019 with second-tier Arkea-Samsic.

André Greipel is to race for new WorldTour team Israel Cycling Academy in 2020.

The veteran German spent 2019 in second-tier team Arkea-Samsic, but terminated the contract at the start of October.

“I am looking forward to the challenge to perform on my highest level again together with team ICA, a project for the future with lots of motivated and talented riders,” said Greipel on the team’s Facebook post that announced the transfer.

“André Greipel has such a vast palmares from his years in the sport up to date that we are honored to have him join the team,” said team manager Kjell Carlstrom.

Greipel is the latest of the spate of riders signing to Israel Cycling Academy since it announced a merger with Katusha-Alpecin, a deal that gained it access to a WorldTour license.

Dan Martin, Rory Sutherland, and upcoming Canadian star James Piccoli are among those to join the roster of riders that will race for the team in 2020. The majority of the line-up with be made up of riders still under contract with Katusha-Alpecin and the Isreali team.

37-year-old Greipel, with 18 years of professional racing under his belt, will add experience to the new WorldTour team, and that was key for Carlstrom.

“We are convinced that he can continue to win with us in 2020, but most importantly, the vast experience he brings to the team in both classics and sprinters races is going to be hugely appreciated both for the other riders as well as management,” he said.

Although ‘the gorilla’ has 157 pro victories to his name, including 22 in grand tours, 2019 was a fallow period, with the big German only registering one win for Arkea-Samsic, who were racing at the Pro Continental level. For Greipel, a new team marks the opportunity to make a fresh start in the twilight years of his career.

“I followed the team and saw its fast evolution in the last few years, and I wanted to be part of that, especially with the chance to go back and race in the WorldTour,” he said.

“I am not somebody who is looking back. I just want to look to the future and start from there, and I know my abilities and will try my best to get back to that.”