Enrico Battaglin will ride for Katusha-Alpecin next season after signing a two-year deal, the team have confirmed. The Italian is the fourth new signing for the squad after Jens Debusschere, Daniel Navarro and Harry Tanfield.
After turning professional with the Bardiani team in 2012, Battaglin has spent the past three seasons with the Dutch LottoNL-Jumbo team.
A promising young rider, he has shown flashes of brilliance but has never enjoyed a sustained period of success. At LottoNL-Jumbo he has been a solid support rider in the shorter mountains, while contesting victories in punchy finales. This season, he took his first win for LottoNL-Jumbo in the opening week of the Giro d'Italia.
With his move to Katusha-Alpecin, Battaglin is hoping to take another step forward in his career, particularly in the Ardennes Classics, to which his skillset is well suited.
"For sure I am happy and enthusiastic. This is a great opportunity for me. I have no bad words for my former team; on the contrary, this is just a step upwards in my career," he said.
"I want to do more than I have done in the past. I will get more chances in the future and I will do everything not to disappoint Team Katusha-Alpecin. The team really wanted me and this, of course, gives me wings. I hope to show nice things in the Ardennes classics, and of course, I want to win in stage races.
"I cannot wait to show what I am able to. I also love the international character of Katusha-Alpecin. In that sense, I am an atypical Italian."
As well as a potential contender for Grand Tour stages and the Ardennes Classics, the team hopes that he can provide some much-needed support for their general classification leaders. Katusha-Alpecin has been lacking in that department this season and fellow new signing Navarro will play a role in shoring up the GC support network.
"He is a rider who I think can win races. He showed us this year in the Giro when he won a stage that he can take on a hard stage in the hills. He's a good climber, and in some stages he can be a good helper for our leaders, especially in the medium mountains," explained general manager Jose Azevedo.
"He can work in the medium mountains and he can win in the same so this shows he's a winner to us. There are many races on the calendar that can be good for him, both stage races and the classics - something like Amstel Gold Race. When you see the type of rider he is, I think he can do well."