Julien Vermote will ride for Cofidis in 2020, the French team announced on Thursday. After beginning his professional career at QuickStep in 2011, the Belgian has spent the past two seasons at Dimension Data.
"I'm very happy to sign for Cofidis. It's a team with a history in cycling and that counts a lot for me," Vermote said in a statement released on Thursday. "The team is based in the north of France, so, geographically, it's close to me. It obviously gives you more energy and motivation when you ride for a team with the same cycling culture."
Vermote endured a difficult 2019 season as his spring campaign was ruined by illness and he missed out on selection for the Tour de France. His absence from the Grand Départ in Brussels seemed to signal his imminent departure from Dimension Data, though he ended his season earlier this month without having signed a contract for 2020.
On Thursday morning, the UCI confirmed that Cofidis has won promotion to an expanded WorldTour of 19 teams in 2020, and later in the day, the French squad formally announced the signing of Vermote.
Cofidis have been active in the transfer market with an eye towards the WorldTour, signing Elia Viviani, Guillaume Martin, Fabio Sabatini and Nathan Haas. Nacer Bouhanni, meanwhile, has left Cédric Vasseur’s squad for Arkéa-Samsic. Vermote will enjoy a free role in the cobbled Classics but will also play a part in Viviani's sprint unit.
"During my career, I've always worked a lot for my leaders, whether they are sprinters or not," Vermote said. "I want to help the team and work notably for Elia [Viviani] and Christophe [Laporte]. At the same time, I want to take my own chances with a freer role in the Classics. I'm convinced that we'll form a great team next season."
Vermote has won three races as a professional, claiming the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in 2012 and stages of the Tour of Britain in 2014 and 2016.
Vasseur welcomed the arrival of Vermote, saying the Kortrijk native would be "an essential part of the team in 2020. He will bring all his know-how, his race knowledge and also his culture of one-day racing".