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A little over two weeks into August, the first big surprise of this year’s transfer season has emerged. Dan Martin will join Israel Cycling Academy on a two-year deal in 2020 after spending the last two seasons with UAE-Team Emirates.
Unlike most of the other notable riders on the move this transfer season whose destinations have been rumored since springtime, Martin managed to keep his plans under wraps until now.
“Our joint goal is to combine our huge appetite for success and to achieve our potential
together,” Martin said in the team’s announcement.
“I have so much respect for what ICA want to achieve, I just want to be part of it.”
As Israel Cycling Academy points out in its announcement, Martin is the “biggest caliber pro rider to date” that the squad has signed since its inception in 2015.
Martin is a two-time Monument winner, with victories at the 2013 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and 2014 Il Lombardia, and a two-time Tour de France stage winner. The punchy 32-year-old Irishman has compiled a strong record in one-week stage races and has also been a consistent presence at the Grand Tours, finishing in the Tour de France top 10 every year from 2016 to 2018.
Turning pro with the Slipstream organization in 2008, Martin stayed there until he joined Quick-Step in 2016 on a two-year deal. He then transferred to UAE-Team Emirates for 2018. His first season with the team saw him take stage wins at the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour. He has yet to pick up any victories in 2019.
In moving to Israel Cycling Academy, Martin will be stepping down from cycling’s highest division for the first time since Garmin-Slipstream went WorldTour in 2009. His new team, however, has made no attempt to hide its aspirations of growth and its pursuit of a future Tour de France invite. Having Martin on-board certainly can’t hurt those ambitions.
“We are thrilled to have Dan Martin join our team,” said team co-owner Sylvan Adams in Israel Cycling Academy’s statement. “Martin is a bona fide star of our sport and we hope to support him towards many victories next season. Dan is a true professional who will be great asset to our team.”