PARIS (AP) German sprinter Marcel Kittel has signed a two-year contract with Etixx-Quick Step in the wake of rival Mark Cavendish's departure from the Belgian outfit.
The 27-year-old Kittel, who has eight Tour de France stage wins to his name, missed cycling's biggest race this year after being hampered throughout the season by the lasting effects of a virus he caught in January.
Etixx-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere said ''in the last years he showed incredible pure speed, which makes him one of the best sprinters in the history of the sport.''
Kittel parted ways with team Giant-Alpecin last week with a year remaining on his contract.
Cavendish, who rode for Etixx-Quick Step the past three years, joined South African team Dimension Data on a three-year deal last month.