UAE Team Emirates has confirmed the signing of Dan Martin, with the Irishman signing a two-year contract for 2018 and 2019. Martin will join the team after two seasons with the Quick-Step Floors squad.
The team also announced experienced domestique Rory Sutherland as a signing for next season. He joins from Movistar.
Martin finished sixth in the Tour de France, despite riding with two fractured vertebrae and believes he can be an overall contender in the years to come.
"The opportunity to join an ambitious group backed by globally recognised brands and use my experience to create a team capable of challenging the best in the world was one that I couldn't refuse," Martin said in a team press release.
"UAE Team Emirates share my vision, my attention to detail and my passion for the sport, and as I enter into the most important years of my career, they offer me the best platform possible to reach my potential and fulfil my sporting goals.
"To race with such a talented roster under the guidance of a highly motivated and experienced staff is incredibly exciting but I also realise this is more than a team as we work with our partners to not only promote the sport I love but a healthy lifestyle and two wheels on a global scale."
One of the strongest squads in the 2018 WorldTour
UAE Team Emirates will lose their current Grand Tour leader Louis Meintjes at the end of the season as he returns to Dimension Data for 2018. However the addition of Martin to the team's roster gives them a serious Grand Tour contender as well as a two-time Monument winner. UAE Team Emirates has already confirmed the arrival of sprinter and cobbled Classics contender Alexander Kristoff, and Fabio Aru has also been strongly linked to the team for 2018. Rui Costa, Sacha Modolo and Diego Ulissi are all expected to stay, making UAE Team Emirates one of the strongest teams in the WorldTour.
After cutting his teeth at Velo Club La Pomme Marseille, Martin turned professional with the Slipstream-Chipotle team in 2008. He remained there until 2015, winning Il Lombardia and Liege-Bastogne-Liege and a stage of the Tour de France. Quick-Step Floors secured his services for the 2016 season and he rewarded their belief with his first top 10 finish at the Tour de France. This season, he secured his best Grand Tour finish yet with sixth at the Tour.
"We're moving with the perspective of bringing quality athletes on to the team, athletes with the right motivation to best represent the spirit of our project," said team manager Carlo Saronni.
"Daniel Martin is capable of excelling both in the one-day races as well as the major tours; we will be able to create the conditions that will allow him to express himself at his best and, with this in mind, we have also secured ourselves the performance of an experienced domestique like Sutherland."
Sutherland arrival will be a big boost to Martin. He is one of the most respected domestiques in the bunch. The 35-year-old has been professional since 2003 and has spent the last three seasons with the Movistar team, predominantly working in the service of team leader Nairo Quintana. He won the Vuelta a la Rioja earlier this season.
"This new challenge offers me the opportunity to work with my good friend Dan Martin while also helping the development of the younger generation of professional cyclists within the team," said Sutherland.
"I feel an immense sense of pride that the team management has the trust and belief that I can be an asset to the leaders of this team. I feel at this stage of my career my experience can be an important part of the future of the team and as I have progressed in my career I find it more rewarding to support my leaders and guide the younger riders."
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