After two years I will leave my current team Quick-Step Floors and as of 2018 I will ride for Katusha-Alpecin.
I am really proud of all the victories that I celebrated together with Quick-Step. As of now, that is 27 – including six stages at the Tour, two at the Giro and one Worlds title in the team time trial. I had great support over the last two years and after my horror year 2015 find my way back to my old strength. I would like to thank Patrik Lefevere and all my teammates for this chance. I am very proud to have been part of the Wolfpack.
And yet I have decided to change. The reasons for this are basically my experiences from 2015. After that extremely disappointing year I decided to change many things. I now train in Girona, Spain, in winter, I have found my private happiness with my girlfriend Tess on Lake Constance, avoid as many appointments as possible and sworn to myself that I never again want to make any compromises about my sport and my goals. That is why I changed teams then and for the same reasons, I am doing it now. I want to avoid a discussion about my future Tour starts and my role as a sprinter. The team management could not give me a definite answer and I can understand that. After Fernando Gaviria won four stages at the Giro, he will of course also want to be at the start of the Tour. I respect that and am therefore happy that I can look back to a good and happy time and that I leave the team with all good between us.
And so we come to the next two years and the future. I am looking forward to the team and above all, being underway with Tony and a few other German riders. Like with my transfer to Quick-Step, I sent Tony on ahead, to check out how things are with the "Reds" ;-) Katusha-Alpecin has changed a lot and offers me and the other guys a great environment. I look forward to the new challenge and – especially great – a totally German team for the sprints! If you followed the Tour de France carefully, then you will have seen that Nils Politt, Rick Zabel and Marco Haller provided some great leadouts in the sprints there. So I have good chances and also a lot of enthusiasm.
But first I want to bring 2017 to an end and once again drink a toast with my teammates to the great last two years. A victory or two this autumn would be perfect for that :-)