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Dan Martin will be making the surprise step out of the WorldTour to join Israel Cycling Academy.
The double Tour de France stage winner is making the switch from UAE Team Emirates next season to join the Professional Continental outfit on a two-year contract.
Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) are pursuing a promotion to the WorldTour, cycling’s Premier League, to reach the Tour de France and hope Martin’s ability as a general classification rider will support their ambitions.
Irishman Martin, 32, said: “I feel it’s time for me to step into a new and exciting challenge. Not only will I be able to help this great project reach its exciting goals, but it's also a great opportunity for me to refresh myself and improve further.
“ICA has shown huge confidence in me, so together we can create something truly special to improve across the board. I have not reached my peak and I strongly believe that the best is yet to come for ICA and myself."
Martin will move to Israel Cycling Academy after a two-year stint with UAE Team Emirates, where he won a second stage of the Tour de France in 2018 as well as a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Team co-owner Sylvan Adams, the Canadian-Israeli billionaire, said: “Martin is a bona fide star of our sport and we hope to support him towards many victories next season. Dan is a true professional who will be a great asset to our team.
“He has proven that he can win single day as well as stage races.”
Martin is a double Monument winner, having taken the Liège-Bastone-Liège crown in 2013 and following up with Il Lombardia victory the following year.
ICA manager Kjell Carlstrom said: “We see Dan Martin as the start of our big leap,”
“After several years during which we were progressing step by step, we have now found the moment to strengthen the team significantly with a leader of Dan’s calibre.
"He will offer the team a lot with his vast experience but even more importantly, he will play a huge role for us as a GC man in stage races. We had a good team in the last few years but now we are stepping up with Dan and with more riders to follow.”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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