Etixx-QuickStep has announced its squad for the 2016 Tour of Britain with Dan Martin its trump card for the nine-stage 2.HC race. It will be Martin's first appearance at the race since 2013 when he finished in 13th place overall. The 30-year-old will be riding his first stage race since the Tour de France in July when he placed 9th.
"Doing the Tour de France and the Olympic Games was very tiring, physically and mentally," said Martin, who was 13th in Rio. "After the road race, I stayed in Rio to recover and follow my girlfriend, who was competing at the Olympics. It was nice, I cleaned up my mind and once I returned home I started building up for the last part of the season.
Martin has won stages of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in 2016 and will be aiming for his first win on British soil at the 2.HC race.
"Even though I don't know what to expect from this race, I am keen on honouring it with a win, especially as in the past I came close to a victory, but missed out on one. The team is strong, so let's see what we're going to do," added Martin.
In the last three editions of the Tour of Britain, Etixx-QuickStep have won three stages of the race and they bring a squad capable of matching those feats. Former stage winner Julien Vermote is included on the roster with Maximiliano Richeze an option for the sprints and Tony Martin aiming for success in the Bristol time trial. The versatile Lukasz Wisniowski, who moves to Sky in 2017, will also be taking part.
Adrien Costa makes his first appearance with Etixx-QuickStep as a stagiaire and completes the roster after third place overall at the Tour de l'Avenir.
"After the Tour de l'Avenir I enjoyed a few days of relaxation and much needed recovery in France. L'Avenir was a big season objective and with two stage wins and a 3rd overall, it went really great for our team," Costa said. "It was an honor to race against the best U23 riders in the world, and at the same time, a huge experience."
Costa, 19, also impressed earlier in the season with victory in the U23 Le Tour de Bretagne and second overall at the Tour of Utah with his Axeon Hagens Berman team. The American added he will be on team duty for the race, aiming to gain as much experience as possible.
"I am super excited to do the Tour of Britain with Etixx – Quick-Step; it's been a dream since I was a kid to race in the pro peloton beside all these legends of the sport. I'm looking forward to a fun, hard week of racing, and I hope to learn as much as I can and give maximum contribution to the team's efforts throughout the race," said Costa.
Etixx-QuickStep for Tour of Britain: Dan Martin, Adrien Costa, Tony Martin, Maximiliano Richeze, Julien Vermote and Lukasz Wisniowski.