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Etixx – Quick-Step signs formidable Ardennes favorite

Etixx – Quick-Step has signed more talent for the Ardennes classics, bringing former world champion Philippe Gilbert on board for 2017.

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Etixx – Quick-Step has become a factor in the Ardennes, with three second-place finishes and a win in the last two years — in 2017, Philippe Gilbert will give the Belgian team even more firepower.

The 34-year-old will leave BMC Racing at the close of 2016. The Belgian has won Amstel Gold Race three times and in 2011 pulled off the Ardennes triple, winning Amstel, Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège over the course of a week. Gilbert is also the 2012 world road race champion

“I was in contact with Patrick [Lefevere] since my U23 spell and now I finally have the chance to ride here. I’m excited to continue my career together with Etixx – Quick-Step, a team whose ethos and aggressive style of racing are very much to my liking.”

He will join young French talent Julian Alaphilippe, who is responsible for three of Etixx’s four podiums in the recent runs through the Ardennes. But beyond the hilly spring races, Gilbert will add his tactical nous and experience to the Etixx outfit, as he is also a stage winner in all three grand tours.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement that three-time world time trial champion Tony Martin will leave Etixx at the end of 2016.