Davide Ballerini will ride for Deceuninck-QuickStep in 2020 after signing a two-year contract with the Belgian squad. The 24-year-old joins the team after spending the 2019 campaign in the colours of Astana and two seasons with Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec.
"For me, joining this team is a dream. When I spoke to Deceuninck-QuickStep and heard that they wanted me to ride for them it was special, because when I was younger the first time I watched Lombardia it was when Paolo Bettini won it for QuickStep, and I said to myself 'Ok, now I go on my bike and I want to ride for that team!'" Ballerini said on Wednesday.
Ballerini turned professional with Androni in 2017 and spent two seasons at Pro Continental level. The Italian won the Memorial Marco Pantani and the Trofeo Matteotti in 2018 before moving up to WorldTour level with Astana this season. After forming part of Astana's cobbled Classics squad this spring, Ballerini won the road race at the European Games in Minsk in June. Though not a climber, he won the mountains competition at the Tour of California after some aggressive racing.
"Now my dream has come true and I am very, very happy," Ballerini said of his switch to Deceuninck-QuickStep.
"I am in a good place in my career, where I am trying to become a champion but I am still learning and building, which I think I can do with this extraordinary team. I am looking forward to building with them and learning more about being part of a great squad and how we can be successful together."
Ballerini is the sixth new arrival confirmed at Deceuninck-QuickStep for 2020 after the signings of Stijn Steels, Mattia Cattaneo, João Almeida, Bert Van Lerberghe and Andrea Bagioli. Julian Alaphilippe signed a new contract before his Tour de France success, and Remco Evenepoel has quickly confirmed his huge potential.
Riders departing Deceuninck-QuickStep at the end of this season include Philippe Gilbert, Enric Mas, Elia Viviani and Fabio Sabatini.
"It is great to have captured another hungry talent in Davide Ballerini," said Deceuninck-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere.
"He is very enthusiastic and eager to learn, which is important, and he will work very hard for the team. We have seen how strong he is already and the versatility he possesses, and I hope we can help him grow even further."