The Etixx-QuickStep team today confirmed that Philippe Gilbert will join the team in 2017. Team CEO Patrick Lefevere said earlier this summer he was hoping to sign the Belgian champion - one of the few top riders from the country not to have raced with his teams.
"Philippe is one of the most talented riders in the peloton and will be an important addition to our roster," Lefevere said of the former World Champion and three-time Amstel Gold Race winner. "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."
Gilbert is the fifth new rider to join the team after Dries Devenyns signed from the soon-to-be defunct IAM Cycling squad, and three neo-pros signed on: Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann.
Gilbert, one of only two riders to have ever won all three Ardennes Classics (Amstel Gold, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège), was courted by Lefevere for the 2012 season when Omega Pharma moved from Gilbert's Lotto team to Lefevere's Quickstep outfit. Gilbert ended up signing with BMC Racing, and stayed there for five seasons.
He said he was excited to finally get a chance to ride with Lefevere's team. "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," Gilbert said.
"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."