Newly bolstered by its association with Omega Pharma, the Quick Step Cycling Team has announced the signing of three new riders through the 2013 season: Stijn Vandenbergh, currently racing for Katusha, and the Slovakian twins Martin and Peter Velits.
The Velits brothers will exit the HTC-Highroad programme of Bob Stapleton, which has yet to announce a sponsor for the coming season. Peter Velits, third overall in the 2010 Vuelta a España, will give the team a Grand Tour contender for the coming years.
"Peter stood out to us for the good end-of-season he had last year, which saw him winning a stage and third place in the GC in the Vuelta España and for the good performance at the recent Tour de France," said Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere. "He's a complete rider, with him the team is gaining an athlete who can potentially make it to the podium in the Grands Tours.
"Martin is an athlete who's already proven his worth in the young categories and in his first seasons as a pro. We're counting on him a lot, since we consider him an athlete who can improve even further.
"Stijn is a worthy athlete, a specialist in the Classics and a team player," Lefevere said.
The Velits brothers have always been on the same team. First with the Dukla Trencin in their first senior year and then with Konica Minolta, Wiesenhof-Felt, Milram and then Highroad.
"I'm happy to become a part of such a prestigious team with great goals for the future," Peter Velits said. "It's doubly satisfying if I think that I can continue riding side by side with my brother Martin. My objective is to continue growing gradually and repay the trust that the team has placed in me."