Morkov signs two-year contract with Quick-Step Floors
Dane leaves Katusha to form part of Classics team and lead-out train
Michael Morkov is set to move to Quick-Step Floors for 2018 after signing a two-year contract with the Belgian squad. The Danish rider has been racing in the colours of Katusha-Alpecin for the past two seasons and will slot into the team's Classics line-up as well as providing support for the team's sprinters, Fernando Gaviria and fellow new-signing Elia Viviani.
Morkov, 32, explained that the chance to ride with the team was one that he couldn't pass up.
"I have always been interested in this team and when [team manager] Patrick [Lefevere] came with the offer to ride with them for the next two years I couldn't refuse it," Morkov said in a team press release.
"It's a team you admire and always look at in the races as competing rider. But most importantly, Patrick and the squad always seem to get the most out of every rider. Also, riders of my age have progressed in this team, so I believe this move can help me progress as a rider. I have been happy with the last two seasons at Katusha, with the results we have created together, which makes me even more motivated to finish off this season strong before moving to my new team."
Morkov began on the track, where he earned a team pursuit silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. On the road, he spent four seasons with the Continental outfit Team GLS before stepping up to professional level with Saxo Bank in 2009. He had two national time trial titles and one in the road race as well as a stage victory at the 2013 Vuelta a España. He moved to Katusha last season, where he has predominantly worked for Alexander Kristoff in the lead-out train.
"I'm really excited with how the outfit is looking for the next seasons, especially with the likes of Gaviria and Viviani, as I think I can offer them both a lot in the sprints," he said.
"Over the last years, I think I've proved myself to be one of the best lead-out men in the bunch, a role I am keen on progressing with Quick-Step Floors. Of course, it's also a dream of mine to be part of the Classics team with this squad, well aware there probably isn't any other team out there with such a fierce competition and that many great riders suited for the Classics."
Lefevere said of his new signing: "We've been following Michael for some time now, as he showed he's one of the best domestiques in the peloton, an experienced and hard-working rider who always gives 110 per cent for the team and leaves everything on the road. I am confident that his addition to our squad will be a win-win situation for everybody involved and we'll develop a solid and successful relationship."
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By Jackie Tyson