Davide Malacarne will compete for mountain bike team DMT Racing in 2017 after failing to secure a contract on the road for the coming season. The Italian had spent the past two years at Astana Pro Team but was not retained at the end of the 2016 campaign.
Although Malacarne has an off-road pedigree, winning the junior cyclo-cross world title in 2005, his competitive mountain bike experience is limited to a scant few races at underage level. He is likely to make his debut for DMT Racing in late January, and will focus on the marathon discipline.
"A month ago, thanks to the Zecchetto family behind DMT, I got in contact with the new team," Malacarne told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I took the decision to start with them in mountain biking, a discipline in which I've never competed apart from a few juvenile races. I'll take part in the important competitions, like the World Cup. My debut will very probably take place in Spain, at the Costa Blanca Bike Race on January 26."
Malacarne began his professional career with Quick-Step in 2009, winning a stage of the Volta a Catalunya in 2010. He moved on to Europcar in 2012 before joining Astana ahead of the 2015 campaign. An experienced rider with eight completed Grand Tours to his name, Malacarne rode in the service of Vincenzo Nibali as he won the 2016 Giro, but found himself surplus to requirements at Astana at season's end. His final appearance with the team came at the Vuelta a España, which he abandoned in the second week.
"I received other offers, but I didn't have motivation. This new experience, by contrast, fascinates me," Malacarne said. "I'm in a team of champions, with the world champion Tiago Ferreira and the former world champion Ilias Periklis.
"My condition is already good, from going out on the bike and running in the mountains. I just need to dust off my technique and for that reason I've taken up cyclo-cross again."