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James Knox extends Deceuninck-QuickStep stay through 2023

VILLANUEVA DE LA SERENA SPAIN AUGUST 27 James Knox of United Kingdom and Team Deceuninck QuickStep crosses the finishing line during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 13 a 2037km stage from Belmez to Villanueva de la Serena lavuelta LaVuelta21 on August 27 2021 in Villanueva de la Serena Spain Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at the Vuelta a España (Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Deceuninck-QuickStep have announced that James Knox has extended his stay at the team for a further two seasons.

The Briton, who turns 26 in November, turned professional with the Belgian squad back in 2018 after starting out at Team Wiggins. He has since raced three editions of the Giro d'Italia and two of the Vuelta a España, his best result coming at the latter with 11th in 2019.

Knox is the latest key rider to extend his contract with Deceuninck-QuickStep this year, following Remco Evenepoel, Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Jakobsen, Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, and Florian Sénéchal in doing so.

Youngsters Ethan Vernon and Martin Svrček will turn pro with the team next year, while Sam Bennett, Shane Archbold, João Almeida, and Alvaro Hodeg are all leaving the team.

Knox, who hails from Kendal in Lancashire, said that staying with the team – which has topped cycling's win rankings in each of his four seasons there and will known as QuickStep-AlphaVinyl next year – was an "easy decision" to make.

"I am really happy to come to an agreement with Patrick and the team, and it was an easy decision to make," Knox said.

"I had a nice talk with Patrick, where things went smoothly, and we took it from there – agreeing to stay did not take too much thinking.

"I have now been with the team for four years and it will be six by the time I have finished, which is a long time when I think about it – I will have spent half of my 'cycling life' so far, with the team, which is crazy to think about, but I am really happy to stay and feeling more and more comfortable."

In 2021, Knox grabbed a handful of top 10s across the Trofeo Laigueglia, Volta a Catalunya, and Itzulia Basque Country, finishing 14th overall at the latter.

Once again, he rode the Giro and Vuelta, but could only manage 53rd and 100th overall respectively. He said that he'd take time over the winter to analyse his performance at both races but added that he was pleased to help the team secure top results throughout the year.

"Over the winter we will look at why I didn't quite perform at the Grand Tours and analyse what we can do and go from there," he said.

"To counter that, how I raced at Liège–Bastogne–Liège and helping Julian to get on to the podium was personally very, very satisfying and something that I enjoyed.

"Also, seeing Fabio Jakobsen's wins at the Vuelta and celebrating that green jersey in Santiago de Compostela, when we crossed the line as a team in stage 20 was quite special. I raced with him in the Vuelta in 2019 and I was in Poland when he crashed, so to have seen how far he has come in that time is amazing."

Knox hinted that his future with the team could see him focus more on working on behalf of his teammates as opposed to riding for himself in Grand Tours but said that he still saw himself as a GC rider.

"I do see myself as more of a GC rider than a one-day specialist. I don't have the explosiveness of someone like Julian in the Classics or a Monument, but I feel like I can still go there and do a job for the team – I think I showed that at La Flèche Wallonne and Liège this year what I can do, and I was very satisfied.

"And if you look, I have had two top 15 places in Grand Tours, so I can see that they are better for me, but the team has a lot of young talented riders, so maybe I am better utilised as a teammate. I can look at my own ambitions but maybe it is better that I help the big guys to continue to get the results."

Team manager Patrick Lefevere said that he was happy to retain Knox for a further two seasons, noting his adaptability as a rider as well as his climbing ability.

"James is a rider that embodies the Wolfpack spirit – he always works so hard for his teammates. He did some immense work in the Ardennes Classics for the squad this year, as well as giving his best in both the Giro and the Vuelta, so he is adaptable too. 

"We have seen in the past that he is also capable of being a very good GC rider, so signing him adds options and strength to our climbing group and we are really happy to be keeping him for two more seasons."

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