So the exciting news is finally out, with Orica-Scott announcing that I will ride for them over the next two years. A few people asked me 'why Orica?' and for me it's pretty straightforward. They presented me with a set of really exciting prospects and sometimes you need a change in your life to see if you can move forward as a rider, and also as a person. Perhaps the biggest thing was that when they first approached me they made it clear that they saw something in me.
Their faith that I could be good in the Classics was super important to me. Orica-Scott actually came to me in 2016 and wanted to talk to me for this year, but at that time I still had a contract with Quick-Step Floors, but we picked things up this year and it went from there. It means that I'll have a bigger role for the Classics but all the talk about racing and about programmes needs to wait until later in the year. There are still lots of goals and races left, and for the coming weeks and months I'm going to give my best to honour the Quick-Step Floors team.
Another question I've been asked is whether it was a difficult decision to leave Quick-Step Floors. The answer is very simple: honestly, leaving the team was a very tough decision. These aren't just hollow words but I'll always be thankful for the years that I spent here. It's been my home. I turned professional with Quick-Step and I grew up as a rider through that team. Okay I didn't win a huge amount, but when I won they were really beautiful moments in my life and they were created with the team around me. We've shared some special moments together.
I remember my first race with them. It was the prologue of the Eneco Tour in 2011. The next day I went in the break for the entire stage and it was a huge moment for me.
At the moment, I'm still in race mode and the Vuelta a España is on the horizon, but once the season closes down and I start to relax into the off-season, I think I'll have more time to contemplate what this change means for me. Saying goodbye to all the riders and all the staff is going to be a strange feeling because since turning professional I've only ever ridden with one team.
But as I said, now I head to the Vuelta and I go there with a win under my belt after taking a stage at the Vuelta a Burgos. I go to the Vuelta with confidence and hopefully the chance to win a stage there too. It's the only Grand Tour I've not won a stage in, so let's see if I can give the team a nice goodbye gift before I go.
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