• Kittel joins Etixx-Quickstep for two years beginning January 2016. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Etixx-Quickstep have confirmed that Marcel Kittel will join the Belgian team next year, taking the place of departing sprinter Mark Cavendish.
6 Oct 2015 - 7:57 AM 

Kittel, who announced he was parting ways with Giant-Alpecin late last week, will join Etixx-Quickstep on a two-year deal.

"This team has one of the best, well-organised structures around its riders. Etixx-Quickstep offers me a great, highly professional environment, where I can continue to develop and improve," said Kittel.

Kittel confirmed as leaving Giant-Alpecin
Giant-Alpecin has confirmed that German sprinter Marcel Kittel will no longer be racing in its colours.

"I am also happy that I have a few friends on this team already, including Tony Martin. Tony is one of my best friends in cycling. We rode together when we were younger, and I can't wait to do it again at the professional level."

Etixx-Quickstep CEO Patrick Lefevre added that "we have yet to see the best of Marcel Kittel".

"In the last few years he has shown incredible pure speed, which makes him one of the best sprinters in the history of the sport." said Lefevre. "As a team we will do our best to put him in the right condition, building a group of riders around him."

Musical chairs
The move sets up an interesting year ahead, with not only Kittel on the move but Mark Cavendish too.

Cav seeks return to glory days with Dimension Data
The worst-kept secret in cycling has been confirmed: Mark Cavendish will join Team Dimension Data (the new name for MTN-Qhubeka) in 2016 along with leadout man Mark Renshaw and former lieutenant Bernie Eisel.

Both marquee sprinters have had troubled years, with wins coming less often than anticipated. A change of scene could be just what both need to re-energise their careers. Kittel comes to an established setup at Etixx-Quickstep, while Cavendish is heading up something of an HTC-Highroad reunion at Team Dimension Data (currently MTB-Qhubeka). Some disruption is likely to be inevitable.

However, history has shown that sprinters often need a 'bedding-in' period at new teams, at least partly to drill their lead-out teams. Therefore, the winners in the short term are likely to be sprinters that are staying put at their teams.

The likes of Andre Greipel, Nacer Bouhanni, Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani and Australia's Caleb Ewan will be rubbing their hands together with glee - at least, until Kittel and Cav have settled in at their new homes.

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