• Philippe Gilbert and Simon Gerrans share a beer on the podium after the 2014 Amstel Gold Race (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The 2012 World Champion and current Belgian road race champion will ride for Etixx-QuickStep next season, joining the classics focused squad from BMC.
By
Cycling Central

17 Aug 2016 - 10:34 AM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2016 - 10:35 AM

Philippe Gilbert has agreed on a contract with Etixx – QuickStep, making him the fifth signing of the 2017 squad, following the recruitment of neo-pros Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann, as well as veteran classics specialist Dries Devenyns from IAM.

Gilbert has one of the most impressive palmares in the peloton, but it is worth noting that his best results are now well behind the Belgian. 

Only the second man in history to complete the Ardennes Triple in the same year, Philippe showed he was cut for the one-day races ever since his pro debut, a trait which has seen him conquer all the major classics races, with the excpetion of the cobbled races and Milan-San Remo. 

He has 67 professional victories to his name, the one that stands out the most was his World Champion title that he took won in Valkenburg.

The 34-year-old Belgian has proved that he's one of the most versatile riders of the current peloton but with his age, Etixx-QuickStep appear to be taking a punt on Gilbert.

Gilbert explained why he signed with Etixx-QuickStep for next year. 

"I was in contact with Patrick (Lefevre) since my U/23 spell and now I finally have the chance to ride here," Gilbert said. 

"I'm excited to continue my career together with Etixx – Quick-Step, a team whose ethos and aggressive style of racing are very much to my liking." 

"I want to thank my former team for the time spent together and wish them all the best, but now the moment has come for a new chapter in my career. 

"I'm looking forward to next season and I hope to be competitive and bring my contribution and experience to the Classics and to the other important races the team will target."

Patrick Lefevere, the team's CEO was more than pleased with the arrival of the current Belgian champion.

"Philippe is one of the most talented riders in the peloton and will be an important addition to our roster, said Lefevre.

"A prolific and intelligent rider, he brings experience, panache and quality, as well as depth to the Classics squad."

"He still has hunger and motivation, which I'm sure will help him thrive next season, when he'll wear the kit of Etixx-QuickStep. We are very happy to add a rider of his calibre to our team for 2017."

How Gilbert will work with Dan Martin, a classics star in his own right, is yet to be seen. Perhaps it will work like the cobbled races, where any of the team can win and it simply comes down to who has the legs on the day.