Team Sky has announced that German domestique and Classics rider Christian Knees has agreed to a two-year contract extension as it begins to formalise its 2018 roster and plan for further success in Grand Tours.
Team Sky has yet to reveal any major changes to its roster for 2018, with Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Michal Kwiatkowski and several other riders signing contract extensions.
Pete Kennaugh (to Bora-Hansgrohe), Ian Boswell (to Katusha-Alpecin) and Mikel Nieve (to Orica-Scott) have all confirmed they are leaving, with Elia Viviani set to stay after being linked to UAE-Team Emirates. Mikel Landa is expected to leave Team Sky and join Movistar for 2018.
Expected new signings include Colombia's Egan Bernal, Spain's Jonathan Castroviejo and talented young Russian Pavel Sivakov, who came through the BMC development team.
Knees rode consistently well in the spring and so earned a place in Team Sky's Tour de France squad that helped Chris Froome secure a fourth victory.
"I'm really happy about staying with the team. I've been here for quite a while now and it's become like a family to me, with the carers, the mechanics, and all the riders. I feel really good on the team and I'm so happy to stay for another two years."
No plans for retirement
Knees has been with Team Sky since 2011 and will be 37 in March but is not thinking about retirement. He has won just twice in his career, the last being at the Bayern-Rundfahrt in 2011. He is valued for his hard work as a domestique rather than any personal results.
"I love what I'm doing. I love to ride my bike and I don't feel tired of it. At the moment I would say even after these next two years I would like to continue - I will see then, but I feel good. First of all the Classics are my big goal for the 2018 season so I'm looking forward to that, then I'd love to make the Tour team again after proving myself this year."
Knees was proud to be part of Team Sky's Tour de France line-up because this year's race start in Dusseldorf, not far from his home.
“The Tour is the biggest bike race you can do so I was really happy to make the team and then deliver at the Tour. I've shown over the years that I'm always consistent, I do my job well, and I think I can do this for many more years. It was great to start the Tour in Germany, especially as we were close to my home. And now I'm back from the Tour I've seen just how many people followed it, and I've had a lot of press back home. It's great for the sport.”
Team Sky race coach Xabier Artetxe described Knees as a rider the team can 'always rely on' as well as an example to younger teammates.
"Christian is a rider who we can always rely on. He's had a really good year and been consistently strong, first with the Classics and then with the Tour. It's excellent news that he's staying with Team Sky and he will continue to play an important role in the team. We also have a lot of really exciting young riders at Team Sky, and to be able to learn from someone with Christian's experience will be so valuable for them."