Modolo signs two-year deal with EF Education First-Drapac

Italian 'looking for new motivation' with Jonathan Vaughters' squad in 2018

The Slipstream Sports organisation has announced the signing of Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo on a two-year deal. The 30-year-old has raced his whole career on Italian-led teams, the last four with Giuseppe Saronni's UAE-Team Emirates and Lampre-Merida squads, but says he is looking for some new motivation.

"The move to Slipstream is a big change, but it's exactly what I need," Modolo said in a Slipstream Sports press release. "After four years with Giuseppe Saronni, who I want to thank, and at 30-years-old, I was looking for new motivation, and I found it in this team. Everyone I've spoken to at Slipstream has expressed belief in me. For a rider, this is important to find confidence and feel responsibility."

Modolo started his career with the Colnago-CSF Inox team in 2010, placing fourth in his debut Milan-San Remo. He quickly established himself as a sprinter, winning stages in the Tour of Qinghai Lake, Brixia Tour, Tour of Denmark, Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda and the Coppa Agostoni the following year. In 2013, he won six stages in the Tour of Qinghai lake, and signed with Lampre-Merida for the 2014 season.

In 2015, Modolo claimed his career's biggest wins, a pair of stage victories at the Giro d'Italia.

"I'm proud of all of my victories, but I'm most proud of the two stages at the Giro d'Italia and the win at Tour de Suisse in front of Peter Sagan," said Modolo.

Over the years, he has progressed from being a pure sprinter to focusing also on one-day Classics, with some success.

"In the last few years, I've done good results in hard races. I hope to find a good environment with my new teammates to achieve more victories in bigger races," Modolo said. "This year, I was sixth at Tour of Flanders, and that was also very special."

Moving away from the comfort zone of an Italian organisation is a big step for a rider midway through his professional career, especially since he could be the only Italian in the team after Alberto Bettiol moved to BMC, Davide Formolo to Bora-Hansgrohe and Davide Villella to Astana, but Modolo hopes it will freshen up his outlook.

"I'm very much looking forward to starting this adventure with new staff, new teammates and new equipment," Modolo added. "My biggest goal will be to create a good team for a lead-out in the sprint, and I'm also eager to work for the team when needed. I want to thank Slipstream Sports for giving me this opportunity. I hope to pay back my new team with some nice victories."

The Slipstream Sports organisation, which is racing under the Cannondale-Drapac banner in 2017, announced EF Education First as its naming sponsor for the 2018 season after the team almost folded due to a budget shortfall. It re-signed Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran for three more years, but the uncertainty led a number of riders to move elsewhere, with Dylan Van Baarle heading to Team Sky, Tom-Jelte Slagter to Dimension Data, Wouter Wippert to Roompot, Ryan Mullen and Tom Skujins to Trek-Segafredo, and Kristjan Koren to Bahrain-Merida.

The new signings have come more slowly, with American Logen Owen the other newcomer announced this week.

Canada's Michael Woods has extended his contract after finishing seventh overall in the Vuelta a Espana, while Taylor Phinney, Joe Dombrowski, Sep Vanmarcke and Pierre Rolland are all under contract for 2018. 

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