Etixx-QuickStep has announced the signing of Eros Capecchi for the 2017 season. The Italian joins Patrick Lefevere's squad after spending the 2016 campaign with Astana, where he rode the Giro d'Italia in the service of overall winner Vincenzo Nibali.
Etixx-QuickStep has signed Philippe Gilbert and Dries Devenyns in recent weeks, with Tom Boonen also racing on into 2017, but has lost Tony Martin, who has agreed to ride for Katusha in 2017. The Belgian team has yet to confirm its principal sponsors and budget beyond the end of the 2017 season, though a two-year deal with minor sponsor Janom was announced on Monday.
Etixx-QuickStep offers Capecchi a chance to relaunch his career after slipping into the role of domestique.
"I am proud to sign with one of the best teams in the world. A change which comes with a new experience is always welcomed and I am really thrilled about this one," Capecchi said in a statement released by the team.
"Etixx–QuickStep has a winning mentality which is put on display in every race. The team is always in the thick of the action and it gives me great satisfaction to know that from next season I will be part of this beautiful and successful environment, to which I am keen on contributing."
Capecchi turned professional with Liquigas in 2006 when he was just 19 years of age. After a hiatus with Saunier Duval, he returned to the team in 2011 and enjoyed his greatest period of success, winning a stage of the 2011 Giro at San Pellegrino Terme and winning the GP Lugano the following season. The 30-year-old switched to Movistar in 2013 but struggled to impose himself during his three seasons with the Spanish squad, before moving on to Astana at the beginning of the current campaign, where he has again raced in a supporting role.
"I've never looked for excuses but these past few years, I haven't gone as well as I'd have liked," Capecchi told Tuttobici. "In my career, I've always ridden for important teams, alongside absolutely world-class riders, but I'd like to show that I'm not just a simple supporting rider, that I can do something more."
Capecchi's arrival was welcomed by Etixx-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere.
"Eros is a rider who will join our strong group for the big mountains, which includes Gianluca Brambilla, Bob Jungels and Dan Martin. He has a huge experience, with the results he got over the years and his presence in Grand Tour winning squads underlining what he is capable of doing," Lefevere said.
"We are giving him a warm welcome and trust he will be there for the team when it will count and bring his invaluable support in order to attain the goals we'll lay out for next season."