Marcel Kittel has signed a two-year contract with Belgian team Etixx QuickStep. The German announced on Friday that he had left Giant Alpecin despite still having a year remaining on his then existing contract.
Kittel has endured a nightmare 2015 season with just two wins to his name. He has suffered a number of injury and illness setbacks and came to an agreement with Giant Alpecin to nullify his contract, thus paving the way for his move to Etixx QuickStep.
"We are thrilled about the arrival of Marcel," said Etixx QuickStep’s CEO Patrick Lefevere in a statement.
"In the last years he showed incredible pure speed, which makes him one of the best sprinters in the history of the sport. As a team we will do our best to put him in the right condition, building a group of riders around him. He showed his potential in just a few years time, with dominating performances among his palmares. We are sure that, together, we can achieve more big goals, and that we have yet to see the best of Marcel Kittel."
Kittel won four stages at the 2014 Tour de France and at Giant he established himself as one of the most successful sprinters in the peloton. Etixx will be hoping that the 27-year-old can return to his best shape in 2016, especially after they allowed Mark Cavendish to leave the team for Dimension Data last week.
"I want to thank the team for the faith they've put in me, and that they will support me in this new chapter of my career," Kittel said.
"I am looking forward to the new challenges of Etixx - Quick-Step, a team, I consider as one of the best teams in the world. This team has one of the best, well organized structures around its riders. Etixx - Quick-Step offers me a great, highly professional environment, where I can continue to develop and improve. I am also happy that I have a few friends on this team already, including Tony Martin. Tony is one of my best friends in cycling. We rode together when we were younger, and I can't wait to do it again at the professional level."