Four-time time trial world champion Tony Martin is due to leave Team Katusha-Alpecin at the end of the season to join Team LottoNL-Jumbo.
The Dutch WorldTour team has yet to formally announce its signing of the German rider, but is expected to do so soon with top brass making comments on his arrival.
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General Manager Richard Plugge confirmed to Dutch website De Telegraph that Martin will be the team’s last big hire for the coming season.
Lennard Hofstede (from Team Sunweb) and Jonas Vingegaard (ColoQuick) will join the team also for 2019.
“He rides like two cyclists,” LottoNL-Jumbo Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said of Martin, whose acclaimed engine has seen him win the world time trial in 2011, 2012, 2013 and the last time in Doha in 2016.
Martin has accumulated five Tour de France stage wins, including those where he blasted away solo to the finish line. In 2014, he rode 60 kilometres solo to win in Mulhouse.
The 33-year-old’s contract should run through 2020. He will be expected to strengthen the time trial team with Primož Roglič, fourth overall in the Tour de France this July, and Steven Kruijswijk, fifth overall.
The Dutch team also won three stages in the recent Tour, two with sprinter Dylan Groenewegen. As he did first with HTC-Highroad and Mark Cavendish, and then with Quick-Step, Martin should offer a powerful motor in the final sprint kilometres. He would also give weight to LottoNL-Jumbo’s classics team.
His career has so far included three years with Bob Stapleton’s Highroad team, five with team Etixx/Quick-Step and 2017 and 2018 in team Katusha.
In 2015, a broken collarbone forced Martin out of the Tour while in the leader’s yellow jersey. This year, he quit after stage eight due to a crash that fractured his vertebra. He has not raced since.
LottoNL-Jumbo would not confirm Martin’s arrival when contacted by Cycling Weekly.