Katusha has confirmed the signing of Jurgen Van den Broeck for the 2016 season on a one-year contract. Van Den Broeck has spent the past nine seasons as part of the Lotto Soudal set-up, where he placed fourth overall in the Tour de France in 2010 and again in 2012. He also recorded top ten finishes at the Giro d’Italia (2008) and Vuelta a España (2011).
The Belgian struggled to scale such heights in recent seasons, however, with third place at last year’s Criterium du Dauphine his standout showing. Van Den Broeck was not selected for this season’s Tour, though he placed 12th at the Giro and won the Belgian time trial title.
“After nine years in the same team it was time to move. I missed the confidence of the team in me,” Van Den Broeck said in a statement released by the team on Friday.
“At the same time there was a concrete interest from Team Katusha. Already in 2013, in the period of my knee problems, Viacheslav Ekimov and José Azevedo asked me regularly about my health problem. They encouraged me not to give up. They were, and still are, convinced I will once again reach the highest level. When they asked me some time ago to join Katusha, I felt it immediately as a grand honour.”
Van Den Broeck had previously raced alongside Ekimov and Azevedo during his time at the US Postal squad, where he raced from his professional debut in 2004 until the end of the 2006 campaign.
“I know Ekimov and Azevedo from the period when I was a neo professional. They were experienced riders and I learned so much from them. In whatever Grand Tours I will start next year, I will give my maximum - for myself and for the old or young teammates,” Van Den Broeck said. “I will start again with the ambition of a junior rider.”
Katusha also announced the signing of neo-professional Nils Politt on Friday morning. The German won his national under-23 title this season and finished 6th overall at the Bayern Rundfahrt at the age of just 21. He has penned a two-year deal with Katusha.
“I love the Belgian and French classic races,” Politt said. “I look forward to helping Alexander Kristoff in the coming seasons. I am sure I will learn a lot in this team.”
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