German time trial specialist signs three-year contract
Tony Martin and Quick Step have confirmed that the German will ride for the new Omega Pharma-Quick Step team as of 2012, as Cyclingnews reported earlier. Martin, 26, won the individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana earlier this week by nearly a minute and is considered a favourite for the title at the upcoming world championships.
"I'm pleased to be riding with such a prestigious team,” said Martin, who signed a three-year contract. “Thanks to team Highroad, I had a wonderful experience and I grew professionally on one of the best teams in the world.
“Now it's time for me to take the next step in my career, as I'm aiming to meet new prestigious objectives. I'm still young and on this team there are all the prerequisites to open an important cycle and assume a major role on the front lines.”
Team manager Patrick Lefevere was equally pleased. “We're happy with the agreement we reached. Martin is a highly valuable athlete, a world class cyclist who currently holds 12th place in the WorldTour rankings. His arrival will allow us to face time trial tests with new ambition; and considering his fantastic athletic potential, he'll also have more to give in other areas. He'll also be someone who all the young riders on our team can look up to.”
Quick Step have also been linked with Levi Leipheimer in recent days, but the team gave no confirmation of a report in Het Nieuwsblad that the American had signed a contract with the squad for next season. Leipheimer, who just won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, tweeted, “I do not have any official announcement about a team for next year. Just wanted to clear that up. We cool?”