The German sprinter leaves Lotto-Soudal after eight years with the Belgian squad

André Greipel will leave Lotto-Soudal at the end of the season to join Fortuneo-Samsic, the French squad have announced.

The German’s current team abruptly announced his departure on Twitter last week during the Tour de France, with no indication as to why, or where he would be heading next.

But the sprinter will now drop from the WorldTour to Pro Continental level to join the Bretagne team, who have had regular wildcard invites to take part in the Tour over recent years.

Fortuneo-Samsic also announced the Greipel would stay with them for at least two seasons, which will see him through until he turns 38 in 2020.

Greipel boasts a stunning palmarès through his time at HTC and Lotto, taking 11 Tour de France stage wins, seven at the Giro d’Italia and four at the Vuelta a España.

He has struggled for results in recent years however, managing to take a stage at the Giro in 2017, but without a win at the Tour since the 2016 edition when he was able to grab victory on the final stage to Paris.

In the 2018 Tour, Greipel’s best result was third on stage four behind winner Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). He later abandoned the Tour in the Alps on the 12th stage from Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs to Alpe d’Huez.

His new team, Fortuneo’s current biggest name is Warren Barguil, who moved to the team after winning two stages at the 2017 Tour and the king of the mountains competition with Team Sunweb. The team also currently has former Quick-Step and Ag2r rider Maxime Bouet and former BMC Racing rider Amaël Moinard on their roster.