After 10 seasons with the Garmin team, Dan Martin leaves to sign a two-year deal with Etixx-Quick-Step
Martin, 29, has been with the Garmin team since joining as a trainee in 2007 and becomes the second long-serving rider to leave the team in the space of a week, with Ryder Hesjedal joining Trek.
With Rigoberto Uran seemingly on his way out at Etixx, CEO Patrick Lefevere was keen to improve his general classification options and Martin certainly fits the bill.
“The arrival of Dan Martin is an important moment for the team,” 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.”
Lefevere sees Martin as a contender for stage races, but also to bolster their Ardennes Classics squad, with the hope that young Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe can learn from the Irishman who won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013.
“I think I am entering an important moment of my career at my age,” Martin said. “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.”
Cannondale-Garmin announced the signing of Pierre Rolland on Thursday, who will fill one of the holes left by the departure of Martin and Hesjedal, with manager Jonathan Vaughters likely keen to add more names before the new season.