Quick Step confirms three year contract with Tony Martin
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Thursday, September 01, 2011

Quick Step confirms three year contract with Tony Martin

by Shane Stokes at 5:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
German rider to bring important world ranking points to Belgian squad

Tony MartinTony Martin, one of the world’s strongest time trialists and a favourite for this month’s world championships has been confirmed as moving to the Quick Step team for 2012.

Today’s announcement follows on from reports yesterday that the move was likely to occur, and sees Martin transfer from the HTC Highroad team with which he has competed for since 2008.

The 26 year old rider has had his best-ever season, winning time trials in the Tour, Critérium du Dauphiné, Volta al Pais Vasco, Paris-Nice and Volta ao Algarve and also taking the overall victory in the latter two. On Monday he won the time trial in the Vuelta a España, beating current world champion Fabian Cancellara yet
again and showing that he will be a big favourite to take the rainbow jersey.

He is currently ranked in the top dozen in the world and his points total will be of big importance to the team, which needs to ensure that it is of a high enough standard to secure a WorldTour licence for 2011.

Martin gave credit to his current setup and said that he was looking forward to the new project. “I’m pleased to be riding with such a prestigious team,” he stated. “Thanks to team Highroad I had a wonderful experience and I grew professionally on one of the best teams in the world.

“Now it’s time for me to take the next step in my career, as I’m aiming to meet new prestigious objectives. I’m still young and on this team there are all the prerequisites to play a major role on the front lines.”

The Quick Step team is set to join up with Omega Pharma next season, with the two sponsors aiming to make the team one of the biggest in the world. According to general manager Patrick Lefevere, Martin’s signature will help make that happen.

“Martin is a highly valuable athlete, a world class cyclist who currently holds twelfth place in the World Tour rankings. His arrival will allow us face time trials with new ambition; and considering his fantastic athletic potential, he’ll also have more to give in other areas.

“He'll also someone who all the young riders on our team can look up to.”

Martin’s HTC Highroad team was one of the most successful in the sport, but is stopping at the end of this season due to an inability to secure sufficient sponsorship for 2012. Directeur sportif Brian Holm is also moving across, and yesterday said Martin would be a Quick Step rider in 2012. He also confirmed reports that RadioShack's Levi Leipheimer would be coming on board, although the American has sought to downplay that

"I do not have any official announcement about a team for next year. Just wanted to clear that up," he stated yesterday on Twitter. That statement doesn't deny a move, however, but rather simply states that he is not ready to announce where he will go. Martin's confirmed signing is likely to increase speculation that the American rider will also be part of the team. 

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