Groupama-FDJ has confirmed the signing of Swiss rider Stefan Küng on a two-year contract. Küng is the first confirmed signing for the French team, who have extended with a number of riders, including Arnaud Demare.
Küng departs from BMC Racing after turning professional with them in 2015 and is the latest in a long line of riders to leave the team following their protracted search for a sponsor. He will be one of three Swiss riders on the team with Steve Morabito and Sebastian Reichenbach already in the line-up.
The 24-year-old is a double Swiss national time trial champion and has world and European titles in the individual pursuit. He is also an experienced Classics campaigner, riding in support of Greg Van Avermaet during his time at BMC. He hopes to use his skills to help new teammate Thibaut Pinot in Grand Tours and Demare in the Classics.
"I look forward to joining Groupama-FDJ. I always kept an eye on the results of the team, especially through the eyes of my compatriots Sebastien Reichenbach and Steve Morabito," he said in a team press release. "As soon as we spoke with Marc Madiot, we immediately understood each other. This team offers me the structure for an optimal personal development. Groupama-FDJ has seen my potential and offers me a role to match my ambitions. Around leaders like Arnaud Demare and Thibaut Pinot, my rider profile will be a plus.
"I will be able to bring my experience on team time trials for example, especially on the Grand Tours with Thibaut. And then on the Classics of the beginning of the season, we will be perfectly complementary with Arnaud, which will allow us to adopt a much more offensive tactic in the race."
Küng had been linked with a move to Groupama-FDJ since mid-July, despite Jim Ochowicz finding a sponsor to save the BMC Racing Team. In his fourth year as a professional rider, Küng has ridden four Grand Tours already and won the team time trial with BMC at this year's Tour de France.
He began the Classics well with 10th at E3 Harelbeke but it ended badly when he broke his jaw in a crash at Paris-Roubaix. He later returned to win the prologue at the Tour de Suisse and enjoyed a stint in the leader's jersey. Küng has shown himself as a versatile rider and Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot believes that he can be a leader as well as a support rider.
"We hired Stefan Küng because he is a rider who knows how to ride at the front, who feels the race and who knows how to work hard and race in the wind. We need elements like him," Madiot said.
"In addition he is a specialist of the Classics and of positioning in the peloton, not to mention his skills in individual and team time trial. He has this particular culture and we need his experience to continue our research work around the discipline.
"He is very young so he still has a lot to show but he is ready to be a leader in one-week races with demanding times trial. This is a very good recruitment for the Groupama-FDJ team, and we are very proud to welcome him to the team "
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