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Deceuninck-QuickStep confirm Ethan Vernon signing

Ethan Vernon (centre) at the UCI Road World Championships in Leuven
Ethan Vernon (centre) at the UCI Road World Championships in Leuven (Image credit: Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Deceuninck-QuickStep have announced the signing of British youngster Ethan Vernon on a two-year neo-pro deal.

The 21-year-old is the team's second signing of the off-season following the recruitment of Slovakian 18-year-old Martin Svrček, who will join next July. Vernon's move was hardly a secret, following team boss Patrick Lefevere's admission earlier this week.

Vernon started off in BMX racing before switching to road and track cycling in his mid-teens. This year, he raced for Great Britain in the Team Pursuit at the Tokyo Olympic Games, placing seventh.

He has raced for the national team on the road, too, taking a sprint victory at the Tour de l'Avenir and seventh place in the U23 time trial at the World Championships in Leuven.

"I'm really excited to be joining this fantastic team," Vernon said of Deceuninck-QuickStep, which will be known as QuickStep-AlphaVinyl next season. He added that he hopes to specialise in sprinting during his career, noting that the team is an ideal place to help with that.

"Deceuninck-QuickStep has a proven track record when it comes to helping young riders, so I couldn't think of a better place to start my professional road career. There is also an in-depth knowledge of sprinting, which is where I want to specialise, and I am really looking forward to getting to work, learning as much as I can and see where that takes me.

"I won a sprint at Avenir so I like to think I'm quite fast, but I also came seventh at TT Worlds after no training so that's also an avenue I'd like to explore. I'm keeping my options open at the moment and we'll see where the next couple of years take me."

Lefevere said that the Belgian team had been tracking Vernon for some time.

"We have had Ethan on our radar this summer and we know that his signature was sought-after by other teams, so we are very happy that he has joined us. He has proved at U23 level that he has a fast finish, as well as some good results in time trials, so he is strong in several departments, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do with us."

Vernon is set to learn from the top sprint and lead-out train in the pro peloton, including the likes of Fabio Jakobsen, Michael Mørkøv, and Tim Declercq. Mark Cavendish's future is still up in the air, but he and the team are edging towards a deal for 2022.

Meanwhile, Irishman Sam Bennett is leaving the squad to return to Bora-Hansgrohe along with Shane Archbold, while Alvaro Hodeg and João Almeida are heading to UAE Team Emirates.