Philippe Gilbert will be leaving Deceuninck-Quick-Step for a three-year deal with Belgian rivals Lotto-Soudal.
The Classics star said he wanted to leave his current squad as they would only offer him a one-year contract, which set him on the search for a new deal.
Lotto-Soudal bosses showed their confidence in the five-time Monument winner, signing Gilbert on a three-year deal at the age of 37.
The Belgian pro said: “I still wanted to race, without any doubt. When I learned that I could only stay with my current team for one year, it was clear to me that I wanted to change. The clearest interest and project was Lotto-Soudal. Of course, I know the team, a lot of riders and staff are no strangers to me. I know the spirit and I will be part of another Belgian project.”
Gilbert will be leaving Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the end of the season after a three year stint that saw him shine in the cobbled Classics, including a memorable solo victory in the 2017 Tour of Flanders and glory in Paris-Roubaix this season.
He has claimed 75 wins in his 17-year career, also counting two editions of Il Lombardia, four Amstel Gold Races, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the World Championships among his successes.
Gilbert added: “The past few years, I watched the team from outside and I think they maybe lacked a real leader in those races. I want to try to lift the team to a higher level, by performing myself but also by making other riders better."
Since his professional career started with FDJ in 2003, Gilbert spent three years with Lotto in the past, before a five-year spell with BMC Racing.
Lotto sports manager Marc Sergeant said: “He has so much experience, he has won all Monuments except for one [Milan-San Remo], and he can pass on his experience to the current team, which is hungry for new success. His age is a relative term, you are as old or fit as you feel. He still has that big urge to prove himself and he is go-getter, that is his secret."
The team’s general manager John Lelangue said: “There are several reasons why Philippe Gilbert is an important transfer for us. Firstly, he is a complete leader, with his palmarès, with the evolution he made throughout his career and with his personality. That is why we really wanted him with us, to highlight the DNA of the team more clearly in the one-day races. Of all the active riders, he has the biggest one-day races palmarès; he knows what it takes to win.”
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