Irish rider Dan Martin has agreed to join UAE Team Emirates from Quick-Step Floors for the next two seasons, the Emirati team said on Friday. The move brings serious Grand Tour clout to the Emirati team, which recently saw its top Grand Tour rider Louis Meintjes depart for Dimension Data.
Australian domestique Rory Sutherland will also join the squad for 2018 on a one-year deal, the team announced.
Martin, 30, finished sixth at the Tour de France last month, despite Quick Step’s focus on stage wins with star sprinter Marcel Kittel. Martin also rode for much of the race with a fractured vertebrae; he suffered the injury in a nasty pileup on the twisting descent of Mont du Chat on stage 9.
“As I enter into the most important years of my career, they (UAE) offer me the best platform possible to reach my potential and fulfill my sporting goals,” Martin said.
Martin has twice finished inside the top-10 at the Tour de France. He is also one of a small number of current riders to have won two prestigious ‘Monument’ one-day classics. Martin won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013 and the Tour of Lombardy a year later but has since developed into one of the best stage racers in the world, finishing seventh in the 2014 Vuelta a España and ninth at last year’s Tour before improving on that this time around.
“We’re moving with the perspective of bringing quality athletes onto the team, athletes with the right motivations to best represent the spirit of our project,” said Carlos Saronni, UAE general manager, in a release.
Sutherland, 35, joins the squad after a three-year stint with the Spanish Motivstar team. Sutherland entered the WorldTour in 2013 with team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff after a successful career in the domestic U.S. racing scene. During his six-year stint in the U.S. scene Sutherland won stages of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Tour of Utah, as well as the overall at the Tour of the Gila, Tour de Beauce, Joe Martin Stage Race, Cascade Cycling Classic, and Mount Hood Cycling Classic.