Road

Dan Martin to join Etixx-Quick-Step in 2016

The Irishman has ridden for the Slipstream franchise since he began his professional career in 2008.

Dan Martin has signed a two-year contract with Etixx-Quick-Step that will begin next season, it was announced Friday.

Martin, who has ridden professionally for the Slipstream franchise since he began his career in 2008, specializes in both one-day and stage races.

The 29-year-old’s Martin’s best grand tour result is a seventh place in the 2014 Vuelta a Espana. As of Friday morning, Martin was third in the current Vuelta.

“The arrival of Dan Martin is an important moment for the team,” Etixx-Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He’s a guy who was able in the past to win one-day races, but also stage races. He has also been a GC contender at grand tours during his career. He is now 29 years old, so he is at the peak of his career. He had an unlucky 2015 early season, but it is clear in his most recent performances, even at La Vuelta, that he has a lot of spirit.

“For the team this is also a key addition because Martin can be a presence in the Ardennes Classics, alongside young French rider Julian Alaphilippe. His contributions can be two-fold for Julian. Julian can learn a lot from a seasoned veteran like him. At the same time, Martin is a guy who has proven he can win at the Ardennes. So the peloton respects his presence as a contender, and this alleviates some pressure for Julian. This can be a bit of an Ardennes ‘dynamic duo.’ Martin is a complete rider who is able to perform well in stage races, one-day-races, and grand tours, and we are excited to see what he can do with an Etixx – Quick-Step jersey on his back for the next two years.”

Martin, who won the 2013 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the 2014 Giro di Lombardia, said he’d like to take his career to the “next step.”

“I’m really excited to join the team, which has been a point of reference in cycling for years,” Martin said. “I hope to be able to take the next step in my career with Etixx-Quick-Step. I would like to improve even more and establish consistency with my performances. I think I am entering an important moment of my career at my age. I feel I am stronger than ever, mentally and physically. Of course my season will be built around the Ardennes Classics, where I can join forces with Alaphilippe. I hope to teach him some things and help him to evolve as a rider, while playing protagonist when I have the opportunity.

“I also would like to do well in the stage races, and maybe try again once in a grand tour for a good classification. I think I have potential to be a factor in the grand tours, whether it be stage hunting or in the overall classification. I am motivated to add to my top career performances, while proudly wearing the team colors of Etixx-Quick-Step for the next two years.”