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Elia Viviani and Fabio Sabatini move to Cofidis to lead 'ambitious project'

Pair depart from Deceuninck-Quickstep as Cofidis edge closer to WorldTour licence

Joe Robinson
5 Aug 2019

Cofidis have strengthened their WorldTour ambitions with the signings of Italian sprint duo Elia Viviani and Fabio Sabatini from Decuninck-Quickstep.

Both riders will switch to the French ProContinental team in 2020 who hope to step up from cycling's second division and be granted a WorldTour licence for next season.

The UCI is set to increase the number of WorldTour teams from 18 to 20 at the end of the season with Cofidis, alongside fellow French team Direct Energie, believed to be in the driving seats for the final two spots.

The signatures of Viviani and Sabatini will only further the team's case for WorldTour status considering the duo's prowess and win record.

Viviani has morphed into one of, if not the world's best sprinter since joining Deceuninck-Quickstep in 2018 and will act as a straight replacement for current sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, who is rumoured to be leaving for Arkea-Samsic.

The Italian is a stage winner at all three Grand Tours, securing that accolade with victory on Stage 4 of the Tour de France last month, as well as some of the most prestigious one-day classics like GP Plouay and EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg.

The 30-year-old currently has nine victories this year with the most recent being the Prudential RideLondon last weekend.

'I am very excited about racing in my new colours. I was able to observe, by talking with Cédric Vasseur and Roberto Damiani, how much the Cofidis team was committed to recruiting me and proposing me an ambitious project,' said Viviani.

'I very much appreciate the desire to create a dynamic around me and the confidence I am shown with the arrival of my friend Fabio (Sabatini). 

Viviani also took the time to outline his goals for 2020 with particular focus on adding to the sole Tour stage he took this Summer and travelling to Tokyo to defend his Olympic gold medal in the Omnium from Rio.

The Italian is also keen to take a tilt at one-day Classics Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem, too.

The Italian's job will be made all the bit easier by the fact compatriot Sabatini will be joining him at Cofidis.

The 34-year-old is widely regarded as one of the world's best lead-out men having piloted Viviani, Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan all to Grand Tour wins.