Time trial specialist Gretsch signs with Ag2r for two years

The German has spent the last two seasons riding for Argos-Shimano

Time trial specialist Patrick Gretsch has signed a two-year contract with Ag2r La Mondiale, it was announced on Thursday.

The 26-year-old German, who first turned pro in 2006 as a member of Thüringer Energie, rode for HTC-Highroad from 2010-2011 and then joined Argos-Shimano in 2012 when HTC folded.

This season, Gretsch finished second in the German time trial championship and recorded two top-10 finishes in stage races. He had eight top-10s in 2011, which included prologue victories at the USA Pro Challenge and Ster Elektrotoer. Last year, Gretsch won the prologue at Vuelta a Andalucia and had two top-10s at the Tour de France, along with an eighth-place showing in the German time trial championship.

Before turning pro, Gretsch was an accomplished track cyclist; in 2005, he won the under-19 individual and team pursuit titles at the 2005 German championships. Gretsch was also the U-19 time trial world champion on the road in 2004 and a two-time U-19 German national time trial champion (2004, 2005).

“I spotted Patrick Gretsch last year thanks to his good results in the individual time trials on the Tour de France 2012,” Ag2r general manager Vincent Lavenu said in a press release. “He has excellent qualities on time trial but he is also able to lead out our sprinters and to maintain his leaders at the race forefront.

“We were looking for a rider with this kind of profile and Patrick will certainly be an extra asset to our 2014 team.”