Veteran Danish rider Matti Breschel will return to the Slipstream Sports set-up in 2018 to bolster the squad's Classics line-up. Slipstream Sports is the owner of Jonathan Vaughters' Cannondale-Drapac team.
The 33-year-old Dane raced for Cannondale-Drapac in 2016 but struggled due to injury and illness. He moved to Astana for the 2017 season but will now be part of the new-look Slipstream Sports team that secured last-minute sponsorship from EF Education First.
"It's great to be back, I'm really happy. I never really wanted to leave the team. I was a bit sad when I'm left, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to return," Breschel said in a statement from Slipstream Sports.
"We're a much stronger squad in 2018, especially on the Classics side. That's where I fit in, and I'm looking forward to helping Sep [Vanmarcke]. He's the guy that can finish it off, and we didn't necessarily have that the last time I was here. It's going to be a real challenge to get him up for the win, but I think we're up for it. We're one of the stronger teams in the classics on paper – that's the way I see it at least."
Breschel has recorded 21 wins during his 14-year career. He turned professional with Bjarne Riis' CSC team in 2005 and has ridden 30 Monuments. His last victory was on home roads at the 2015 Tour of Denmark.
He did not race a Grand Tour in 2017 and has not raced since the Tour of Denmark in mid-September.
"I would love to start winning again or maybe just one win would be enough," said Breschel. "But if we can win a classic, a big one, or if I can be part of a winning team in a Grand Tour, that would be great, too. I realise those are pretty high expectations, but I'm really motivated. This is a strong squad with some really interesting names on it, and I definitely think we can do big things next year."
Slipstream Sports has lost a number of talented riders, including Dylan van Baarle, Davide Formolo, Alberto Bettiol and Davide Villela but kept hold of team leader's Rigoberto Uran, Sep Vanmarcke and Michael Woods. New signings already announced include sprinters Sacha Modolo and Dan McLay, Australia's Mitch Docker and talented young American Owen Logan. Pierre Rolland, Joe Dombrowski, Taylor Phinney, Hugh Carthy and Paris-Roubaix third place finisher Sebastian Langeveld all had contracts for 2018.
Breschel will be one of the road captains for the Classics and also Grand Tours.
"During Matti's first year with us, he wasn't really able to perform to his usual standards," said Vaughters. "He was sick for most of the spring and he crashed out of the Tour. He's a huge talent, and we're confident his experience and horsepower will be vital to our young team."