While the biggest Omega Pharma-Quick Step news story on the second rest day at the Tour de France revolved around revealing a new sponsor name for 2015 and beyond, the WorldTour team also announced that three-time time trial world champion Tony Martin had put pen to paper and re-signed for a further two years.
"Tony is such a lovely guy. Everybody adores him," team owner Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews during the rest day. "He's a champion who can win time trials and road stages, and help us to win team time trials. Plus, he doesn't feel that he's too good to do lead-outs for Mark [Cavendish] in the sprints. At the Tour of Switzerland this year, he was on lead-out duty for Matteo Trentin, and almost dropped the whole bunch in the final kilometres."
Martin claimed a debut road Tour stage having attacked breakaway companion Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) with 59km left to solo over the line in Mulhouse. Martin also wore the climber’s polka dot jersey on stage 10 and was the most combative rider for stages nine and ten.
"I've had almost three great years now with the team, with a lot of support," said Martin who won time trial stages at the Tour in 2011 and 2013. "I gained a lot of new friends and I feel super comfortable. For me, there was no reason at all to change my team. I had a long talk with Patrick. We have chosen a lot of good goals for the future, goals we both want to reach.
"For example, it's no secret the 2016 Olympic Games are a big goal. For Patrick the 2015 Tour de France is maybe a step higher with a 13.7km opening time trial in Utrecht. We set other goals together, both team and individual. It will be hard work, but I know the team will give me the best support I can have. I'm looking forward to the next few years and maybe even longer."
Martin is the latest of several riders to re-sign with the team as Lefevere continued to secure his star talents before the transfer window officially opens on August 1.
"He was one of the leading riders of the team that was out of contract," Lefevere said. "It was a very active discussion that started with the Tour of Belgium. He wanted to stay, I wanted to keep him, and we found each other finally. Now this is team is part of his professional life. He's not only a super strong rider, but also a big motivator for the team.
"He always gives everything and is a great example for the young guys as he's a great time trialist, but someone who works for his teammates without hesitation and with pleasure. We are happy that his future will be with us as he brings much to the table as a rider, and also as a person."
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