(Reuters) - German sprinter Marcel Kittel has left Belgium’s Quick-Step Floors and signed a two-year deal with Swiss cycling team Katusha Alpecin.
The 29-year-old, who joins world time-trial champion Tony Martin at Katusha, said he was looking forward to the new challenge.
“For me, this moment is exciting,” Kittel said on the team’s website (teamkatushaalpecin.com). “With this step, I also hope to get new inspiration. I find all the requirements in the team that I need to be strong in the sprint finals.”
Kittel, who won five stages at the Tour de France this year and wore the points leader’s green jersey for 12 days before a crash forced him to abandon the race, will be replaced by Team Sky’s Elia Viviani at Quick-Step Floors.
The Italian will join his new team in January and will be hoping his departure from Sky, who are more focused on Grand Tours and one-day races, can lead to more success at a sprint-oriented outfit.
Team Sky have replaced Viviani with three-time Spanish national time-trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo from Movistar and compatriot David de la Cruz from Quick-Step Floors. The duo will join the team from 2018.
“I have been part of Grand Tour winning teams in the past and I want to do that again in the future,” the 30-year-old Castroviejo told Team Sky’s website (www.teamsky.com).
De la Cruz, who finished seventh at the Vuelta a Espana last year, believes the British team is the best place to progress in his career.
“The team understand my skills and what I can offer... I am looking forward to this new challenge,” the 28-year-old said.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge