German time trial specialist Tony Martin will ride with LottoNL-Jumbo in 2019 and 2020, the team has confirmed. Martin has signed a two-year deal with the Dutch team and joins Mike Teunissen, Taco van der Hoorn, Lennard Hofstede, Laurens De Plus and Jonas Vingegaard as new signings for next season.
Martin has spent the past two seasons with the Katusha-Alpecin team but it has been rumoured since the summer that he would be leaving the team at the end of the year.Cyclingnews reported in August that Martin would be going to LottoNL-Jumbo but it is just as the curtain falls on the WorldTour season that the team has announced the deal.
"I'm looking forward to joining Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I share their philosophy," said Martin. "The riders are a unit, and the staff work on every detail to support them. Especially their approach to time trials is appealing to me. It's known that the team put a lot of efforts in that direction. My ambition is to become a prominent team player by supporting the leaders and being successful in the time trials."
Martin has been a professional for over a decade after stepping up to the Columbia team in 2008. In that time, he has become one of the most successful time triallists with four world titles, a number only matched by Fabian Cancellara. He also has five Tour de France stages and two in the Vuelta a España on his palmares. In recent years, his prowess has diminished, though he has still proved useful in the support role.
The 2018 season was a challenging one for Martin after he broke his spine in a crash at the Tour de France. He returned to action at the Tour of Britain last month and went on to finish seventh in the time trial at the World Championships in Innsbruck. He has recently completed the Tour of Guangxi, which concluded on Sunday.
"Tony was the missing link. He brings in a boatload of experience and he’s a professional in every way. He can be of great value in the support of our leaders. His signing is a confirmation of the development we’ve been through in recent years," said team manager Richard Plugge.
Along with his time trialling talents, Martin could be an important support rider for the team in the Grand Tours. LottoNL-Jumbo have proved a strengthened force in stage racing this season with Primoz Roglic and George Bennett stepping up a level this season to join long-time GC leader Steven Kruijswijk in the Grand Tours.