Quick-Step Floors continue to reveal and confirm riders for their 2018 roster, with the talented 20-year-old Jhonatan Narvaez of Ecuador the team’s first new signing as it plans for next season and beyond.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere is still to confirm his title sponsors for 2018 but the experienced Belgian is expected to have Quick-Step Floors, Lidl and Specialized as key backers, with billionaire team owner Zdenek Bakala likely to make up any budget deficit.
In the last ten days Quick-Step Floors have announced that Bob Jungels, Fernando Gaviria, Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert have all signed new contracts. However, there is still no news on Marcel Kittel’s future. The German has been linked to Katusha-Alpecin, especially after winning five stages at the Tour de France. Dan Martin finished sixth overall at the Tour de France with Quick-Step Floors but is also still to decide his team for 2018.
Matteo Trentin has confirmed he will move to Orica-Scott for 2018, while hard-working domestique Julian Vermote is expected to move to Dimension Data to help Mark Cavendish.
Quick-Step Floors have always invested in young talent and Jhonatan Narvaez is one of the most promising riders in the under-23 ranks. He has shown his ability on both the road and the track. Narvaez is the first rider from Ecuador to ride for the Belgian team and is only the second Ecuadorian rider in the men’s WorldTour.
As a junior, Narvaez broke a six-year-old world record in the individual pursuit. He first raced in Europe last year finishing fifth overall at the prestigious Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc. He moved to the US-based Axeon Hagens Berman, run by Axel Merck, this season and finished in the top 10 at Volta ao Alentejo, before becoming the first South American winner of the Circuit des Ardennes.
While racing in the USA he took a stage victory at the Tour de Gila, which he finished sixth overall. He finished 15th overall and second in the young rider competition and will ride the Colorado Classic with Axeon Hagens Berman later this week.
He will meet up with his new teammates during the winter and then pull on the blue Quick-Step Floors jersey for the first time in 2018.
"Not anyone can become a pro with Quick-Step Floors and to sign a contract with them makes me very proud. It's fantastic to turn pro with the best squad in the world, one consisting of many great riders," Narvaez said in a statement from the Quick-Step Floors team.
"I am ready to learn and work hard in order to succeed. Long-term, I have two big goals: to wear the leader's jersey in a Grand Tour and to win Liège–Bastogne–Liège, a fascinating and tough race which I became very fond of after riding the U23 version earlier this year."