The Irishman will leave Quick-Step after two years in which he secured two top-10 finishes at the Tour de France

Irishman Daniel Martin, after placing sixth overall in the Tour de France, will leave Quick-Step Floors for UAE Team Emirates this winter.

The Arabian team announced his two-year contract, 2018 and 2019, on Friday. The team could become a Grand Tour powerhouse like Team Sky as soon they are set to welcome Fabio Aru, too.

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“The opportunity to join an ambitious group backed by globally recognised brands and use my experience to create a team capable of challenging the best in the world was one that I couldn’t refuse,” Martin said.

“UAE Team Emirates share my vision, my attention to detail and my passion for the sport, and as I enter into the most important years of my career, they offer me the best platform possible to reach my potential and fulfil my sporting goals.”

Martin, 30, blossomed in team Quick-Step over the last two years after spending several seasons with Garmin/Cannondale. Martin placed ninth overall in the 2016 Tour and sixth this year.



“He performed very well this year, not only in the Tour, and money also starts to become important,” Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere said on Thursday.

“I think many teams want to have a rider like Martin. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a sponsorship partner for the team who wanted to pay 10 million dollars. I’m happy with what I have, though.”

Quick-Step will continue to develop Luxembourg rider Bob Jungels, who will race the Vuelta a España after racing to eighth overall in the Giro d’Italia and winning the white jersey of best young rider this May.

UAE is also expected to sign Fabio Aru, who placed fifth in the recent Tour, second in the 2015 Giro d’Italia and won the 2015 Vuelta a España.

Martin could lead one Grand Tour team and Aru another. Martin will also give the team added muscle for one-day races.

“Daniel Martin is capable of excelling both in the [one-day] races as well as the major tours,” team manager Carlo Saronni said.

“We will be able to create the conditions that will allow him to express himself at his best and, with this in mind, we have also secured ourselves the performance of an experienced pacer like Sutherland.”

Nairo Quintana’s Australian domestique Rory Sutherland will leave team Movistar this winter after three years.

Sutherland said: “This new challenge offers me the opportunity to work with my good friend Dan Martin while also helping the development of the younger generation of professional cyclists within the team.”