James Knox turns pro with Quick-Step Floors
Opportunity knocks for the 21-year-old British climber, who'll step up to the World Tour in the jersey of the most victorious team of 2017.
One of the brightest prospects on the U23 scene, James Knox has inked a deal with Quick-Step Floors, which will see him sport the colors of our squad until the end of 2019. Hailing from Levens, a small town in the county of Cumbria, James has built a reputation as a solid climber ever since his junior days, when he won the National Hill Climb Championships.
Over the years, Knox proved he's cut for both tough one-day and stage races, the results he earned this season speaking for themselves: runner-up at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the young Briton impressed also in Ronde de l'Isard, Giro della Valle d'Aosta, Tour Alsace or Tour de l'Avenir, finishing all these events in the top 10 overall.
But maybe his most outstanding display of talent and character came in April, at the Tour of Croatia, where James mixed it up with the pros and fought relentlessly on the race's tough climbs, before concluding the hard six-day event in eighth place, around one minute and a half behind the winner, multiple Grand Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali. All said and done, it doesn't come as a surprise that Quick-Step Floors have decided to add the promising 21-year-old rider to their 2018 roster.
Knox spoke of the opportunity he's been given and his goals as he opens a new, exciting and challenging chapter of his career: "It's amazing to join Quick-Step Floors, who is a team that excels in so many areas, from having the best classics riders in the world to the best stages racers and best sprinters. On the whole, it's a great outfit that always gets the most out of every rider, and personally I especially hope to develop my character as a climber, because it's where I can excel the most. When that is said, I would like to develop every aspect of what it means to be a top professional rider and I think Quick-Step Floors provides the best opportunity for just that."
"I am really happy with my season so far. I have managed to take a step up from knocking on the door last year to be close this year with a few second places", said James when asked of his solid run of form and results. "Runner-up in Liège – a race I dream of winning as a pro – was great and from there on to get good results over the whole season gives me motivation and confidence to take the next step up the ladder at Quick-Step Floors. I'm very happy and proud that the things I've achieved have attracted the attention of a team like Quick-Step Floors".
The Brit didn't forget his previous teams and the role they've played in his development: "I owe all the staff at Team Wiggins a huge thanks for helping me reach my achievements over the season and progress as a rider over the last two years, and I also want to mention Flavio Zappi, who has meant a great deal and really sized my career as an under 23. He has a big part in that I am today able to sign the contract with Quick-Step Floors."
Patrick Lefevere – Quick-Step Floors' CEO – spoke highly of the soon-to-be 22-year-old, the team's sixth recruit for next season: "James was on our radar for some time and we closely monitored his progression this season, but it wasn't only his results that caught our attention, also his right attitude and commitment towards the sport were equally impressive. He's a very promising climber and we'll carefully nurture his talent in the years to come, while at the same time helping him adapt to the demanding pro life."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele