Philippe Gilbert has agreed on a contract with Etixx – Quick-Step, making him the fifth signing of the squad, following the recruitment of neo-pros Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann, who came from Klein Constantia, and the one of Dries Devenyns.
Only the second man in history to complete the Ardennes Triple in the same year, Gilbert showed he is cut for the one-day races ever since his pro debut, boosting in the past seasons an impressive list of achievements, which includes more than 70 victories, from which stands out the World Champion title he’s won in Valkenburg, after a blistering attack on the final climb of the course.
The living symbol of the iconic Cauberg – where he took the spoils four times in his career – the 34-year-old Belgian proved in more than one occasion that he’s one of the most versatile riders of the current peloton, his victories in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche coming as extra proof in that regard.
Gilbert – a stage winner in all three Grand Tours – explained why he signed with Etixx – Quick-Step for next year:
“I was in contact with Patrick [Lefevere] since my U23 spell and now I finally have the chance to ride here. I’m excited to continue my career together with Etixx – Quick-Step, a team whose ethos and aggressive style of racing are very much to my liking. I want to thank my former team for the time spent together and wish them all the best, but now the moment has come for a new chapter in my career. I’m looking forward to next season and I hope to be competitive and bring my contribution and experience to the Classics and to the other important races the team will target.”
Patrick Lefevere was more than pleased with the arrival of the Belgian champion, a three-time Monument winner: “Philippe is one of the most talented riders in the peloton and will be an important addition to our roster. A prolific and intelligent rider, he brings experience, panache and quality, as well as depth to the Classics squad. He still has hunger and motivation, which I’m sure will help him thrive next season, when he’ll wear the kit of Etixx – Quick-Step. We are very happy to add a rider of his caliber to our team for 2017.”
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2017 cycling transfers Etixx-QuickStep philippe gilbert world champion